Celebrating Homegrown Festival with SAE Staff


25 Mar 2021




Celebrating Homegrown Festival with SAE Staff

25 Mar 2021


CAPTION: Alex Ferrier (left) performing bass and vocals with Dead Favours at Homegrown 2021 (Credit: Morgan Creative)


Homegrown just celebrated it’s 13th anniversary of bringing together a multiple-staged music festival packed with some of Aotearoa’s finest acts on Wellington’s waterfront. Forced to cancel in 2020 due to Level 4 lockdown covid restrictions, the 20th of March marked an amazing achievement for musicians and events crew across the country.

This year, both SAE Auckland staff and graduates were there to participate in the celebrations - whether as musicians or technicians - including four staff members on stage or behind the scenes rejoicing with the nearly 25,000 punters.

Industry Liaison and Marketing expert, Dave Johnston, was one of the musicians on the Jim Beam Rock Stage aka the drummer from Villany. Also joining the Villainy team was Swap Gomez, Student Recruitment and Enrolment Officer, who was filming the set with his video production company Umbrella Creative.

“This was my second time at Homegrown,” Swap said. “The first was in 2017 performing with Yoko Zuna on drums. My favourite part about Homegrown is catching up with 5,473,839 musician/filmmaker friends all in one place, after [it seems like] forever!”


CAPTION: Swap Gomez and Dave Johnston (second and third from right) celebrating Homegrown 2021 with band Villainy and friends (Credit: Supplied)


Also on the Jim Beam Rock Stage - twice - was Head of Audio Department, Lora Thompson. Being her second time at Homegrown since 2019, Lora was there as a guitar-technician for both Elemeno P and Skinny Hobos. 

“Homegrown is always a super busy day, but it’s so much fun seeing heaps of old faces and getting a chance to celebrate together at the end,” Lora says. “Jumping up on stage with the Hobos to do a cover of ‘I See Red’ [by Split Endz] this year was an amazing experience!”

SAE’s Head Studio Supervisor, Alex Ferrier, is one half of the two-piece Skinny Hobos who also performed on the Jim Beam Rock Stage at Homegrown. Doing a double-whammy performance, Alex played two back-to-back sets with Dead Favours followed by Skinny Hobos.

“I first played Homegrown with Skinny Hobos in 2017 and we’ve played every year since. But I also worked as a tech for a couple bands back in 2012 and 2013,” Alex said.

Alex says that Homegrown is the highlight of his year as a musician and active music industry member, and highly recommends any enthusiastic local-music-lovers to get involved next year.


CAPTION: Alex (left) and Lora (right) performing with Skinny Hobos on the Jim Beam Rock Stage at Homegrown 2021 (Credit: Triebels Photography and Morgan Creative)


“It's such a local’s party which makes it loads of fun. It's basically a big family reunion. Full-chill with minimal ego. The production is fantastic and they really look after their artists and crew. It really is my favourite festival to play.”

Alongside the current SAE staff, Homegrown also featured previous staff members and graduates such as Lani Purkis from Elemeno P and genre-bending Persian/New Zealand rapper Chaii. 

“It’s a huge part of SAE”, explains Campus Director Dr Suzette Major. “Our students learn from industry professionals, which also means we need to accommodate staff who disappear from time to time for tours or festivals such as Homegrown”

“But it’s worth it! Alongside ensuring staff keep a hand in industry and get to do what they love, it’s also so valuable for our students”.



SAE Auckland offers NZQA accredited qualifications in Music Production, Audio Production and Screen Production. Their hands-on practical degrees using industry standard equipment, means students are work-ready by the time they graduate. SAE Auckland is one of over 50 SAE campuses worldwide, which span over 25 countries. During their most recent NZQA External Evaluation and Review (EER), the SAE Auckland campus was awarded the highest possible rating as a Category 1 provider. Further information about SAE qualifications can be found at auckland.sae.edu.