Two leading New Zealand festivals drew record crowds over the weekend.

Two New Zealand festivals drew record crowds over the weekend.

The March 11-13 World of Music, Arts and Dance festival gathered 30,000 visitors to New Plymouth's Bowl and Brookland Park, according to organizers. The last event, in 2003, drew 20,000. Performers over the three days included Richie Havens, Alpha Blondy, Zap Mama, Ozomatli and the Kronos Quartet.

WOMAD New Zealand artistic director Roger King says he is negotiating with the local council to increase site capacity to 40,000 in 2007. "Demand was still strong even after the tickets were sold out," King says.

Separately, the March 11-12 Pasifika Festival drew about 210,000 visitors, the biggest attendance in its 13-year history. The free festival in Western Springs Park will be expanded to two weeks starting in 2008, says project manager Mere Lomaloma Elliott. The event, which celebrates music and culture from the Pacific Islands, included performances by R&B and hip-hop acts such as Adeaze, Dei Hamo and Nesian Mystik.

The Pasifika Festival also hosted the inaugural Pacific Music Awards March on 11. Samoan-born rapper Tha Feelstyle won best Pacific hip-hop artist and best Pacific male artist for his album "Break It to Pieces" (Festival Mushroom Records); his track "Su'amalie/Ain't Mad At You" took the Australasian Performing Right Assn. prize for best Pacific song. The gala was organized by the Recording Industry Assn. of New Zealand.