Jacinda Arden's partner Clarke Gayford to play at Splore Festival 2021

Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford.
Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford. Photo credit: The Project

New Zealand's first man Clarke Gayford will take to the stage at Splore Festival next year alongside a diverse range of musical acts revealed in the second line-up announcement. 

Gayford, the partner Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, will DJ at the sold-out event, which also features performances from Soulwax's Steefan Van Leuven, Aroha, King Kapisi and Hollie Smith, who is one of Gayford's close friends and 'Aunty Hollie' to his and Ardern's daughter Neve.

“After the year we’ve just had, who doesn’t want to escape a bit of the madness?" Gayford said in a statement to Newshub.

"I couldn’t think of a better place in the world to be, than at the magic that is Splore.”

While Gayford's is one of the more unexpected male acts to be announced, the organisers of Splore have announced a focus on female musicians, with all of the main stage acts featuring women. 

The ratio of female-to-male acts across all five stages is around 60/40, a press release announced, calling it a first for major music festivals in Aotearoa. 

Splore's second line-up announcement adds to acts including The Topp Twins, Shapeshifter, Princess Chelsea, CHAII and Weird Together, which were announced earlier this year. 

Thursday's announcement also teased a special female guest that will feature during Shapeshifter's set. Kiwi journalist Luke Appleby suggested that Ardern could be the surprise act, given her own DJ background. 

Before becoming Prime Minister, Ardern took to the decks at Auckland's Laneway festival in 2014, where she played songs by Snoop Dogg, Beyonce and Smashing Pumpkins. 

Splore later confirmed to Newshub that Ardern was not on the bill, and would not be appearing as Shapeshifter's mystery guest. 

Gayford used to work as a DJ on dance music radio station George FM, whose listeners he pranked on April Fool's Day last year when he pretended he would be coming back to host the breakfast show as 'First Man, First Thing'.