South Island summer festival season turns orange

The South Island’s major summer festivals and large-scale events are “all systems work,” event planners say.

Benee, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Montell2099 and Savage were added on Tuesday to the lineup of Electric Avenue, New Zealand’s largest one-day festival, to be held in Christchurch’s Hagley Park on February 26.

Rhythm & Alps New Years Eve Festival in Cardrona Valley, Shapeshifter and LAB concert at Hagley Park in January and several Christchurch City Council summer events including Sparks, Summer Sundays – formerly Lazy Sundays – and new Summer Family Events Nights and Family Festival will also go ahead.

ChristchurchNZ tourism and promotion agency said it will invest in seven major events this summer, a spokesperson said, including the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, Black Caps matches, Flare Street Art Festival and the TSB NZ Surf Lifesaving Nationals, with an estimated visitor spend of $ 6.55 million.

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Fat Freddy's Drop has been added to the Electric Avenue range.


Fat Freddy’s Drop has been added to the Electric Avenue range.

Team Event Director Callam Mitchell said its events, including Electric Avenue – which would attract 30,000 attendees – the Nostalgia Festival, the Great Kiwi Beer Festival and the South Island Wine and Food Festival, will take place this summer.

“It has been a nervous few months since Delta entered the country,” Mitchell said.

“Switching to the traffic light system, the South Island is all orange, and the insurance plan the government is providing to the events industry gives us a lot more certainty for this summer.

“I think people are going to celebrate en masse over the next two or three months.”

Nostalgia Festival 2021 at Ferrymead Heritage Park.  The festival will take place this summer.


Nostalgia Festival 2021 at Ferrymead Heritage Park. The festival will take place this summer.

The past 18 months have been “really tough” for Mitchell.

“It has certainly been a bit of a roller coaster. He tested my sanity to say the least. It’s just a big money pit until you open the doors, really, ”he said.

“The events industry is pretty much at a standstill for most of our suppliers and the fact that we can resume operations under amber light is probably well overdue. “

As 27,000 people partied on Electric Avenue in February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a lockdown that would begin just hours after the last festival-goers left the site.

“We struggled ahead of the lockdown with just a few hours to spare,” Mitchell said. “I had to sit down and have a little drink.”


Chase and Status, DJ Set & MC Rage performed on the Lake Stage at the Electric Avenue 2018 festival in Christchurch.

“If the lockdown had been announced earlier, we would have been in a lot of disputes. The artists were already in town in their hotels, the whole site was built, there was no government insurance plan at this time last year.

A month ago, Mitchell launched the tough decision to postpone the South Island Wine and Food Festival from early December until the Waitangi weekend.

“It was scheduled for the past Saturday, it would have been a beautiful day for drinking wine in Hagley Park with 28 degrees and no wind,” he said.

“It would have been nice to get more clarity earlier than us, but most of us are happy to know that the next few months of summer will still be full of events and festivals.”

Teeks is playing at the Electric Avenue Festival.

Frances Carter / Sony Music

Teeks is playing at the Electric Avenue Festival.

Electric Avenue’s lineup would typically include an “international artist ensemble,” but this year Mitchell had taken a “creative” approach, including the very first festival performance of the 48-piece Synthony and Supergroove orchestra, which were performing for the first time. in seven years.

Australian artists such as Peking Duk and Genesis Owusu, who topped this year’s Aria Awards, have also been added to the lineup with previously announced artists including UK drum’n bass star Sub Focus, as well as Drax Project, Lee Mvtthews, Teeks and Sachi.

“It’s amazing to have two years in a row with a record number of spectators and a predominantly New Zealand roster,” said Mitchell.

“The tours have 20 to 30 people. It wouldn’t be fair to have so many people in MIQ (Segregation and Quarantine Managed) as thousands of New Zealanders try to return home. “

Shapeshifter will headline the popular Southern New Year's Rhythm & Alps festival.


Shapeshifter will headline the popular Southern New Year’s Rhythm & Alps festival.

Meanwhile, Rhythm & Alps has redesigned its lobby layout so that vaccine passes can be checked quickly when the festival opens on December 29.

“Our ticketing partner has already integrated the new vaccine passport technology,” said festival director Alex Turnbull.

“Each festival ticket holder can easily download their vaccine pass to their Ticket Fairy account. Once verified, this then marks their ticket as valid at the front door.

Vaccination rates in Queenstown and Wānaka are currently 95 percent dual vaccines.

Turnbull said 40 percent of festival attendees came from outside the region, which provided a “much needed boost” to the local economy.

Mitchell, who will use the same ticketing system, said he was confident that in the days of Electric Avenue people would use it with confidence.

“I’m looking forward to February 27th and I’m like ‘Holy s … we made it’.”

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