The Wailing Bongo was the main venue for bands playing at the University of Waikato in the mid- to late-1990's. Notable events held there included Hamapalooza (1993), the 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 Battle of the Bands competitions, the release gigs for the Romantic Andes album To Understand the Animals (1994) and Rocket EP (1996), and the Atrocities One release party (1994).
The "Bongo" was mismanaged into oblivion after the election of a student union who believed the bar did not cater for the average student. The union employed a manager who would aim to make the Bongo similar to the bars already existing in town, complete with a DJ to play mainstream dance music. Alienating the strong regular crowd, who was interested in bands and with more refined musical tastes, it had limited success in attracting its intended clientele. It instead attracted many underage drinkers that contributed greatly to its downfall.
Late in the Bongo's existence it played host to the Dirty Three from Australia; here the juxtaposition was stark, with two disparate crowds migrating between the main hall and the bar when each band gave way to the DJ, and vice-versa. Most painfully, the DJ began playing music half-way through an intense Dirty Three song, breaking the mood with his cry of "Lets give it up for the Dirty Three!!". It now exists as the weights room of the university gym.