Rhythm and Vines festival postponed until Easter

Source: 1News

One of the biggest events on the summer festival calendar - Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines - has been moved to Easter.

It comes as the country prepares to move into the new Covid traffic light system overnight.

Tairāwhiti enters the system at Red, significantly impacting the ability of organisers to hold events.

There has also been significant opposition from residents due to lower vaccination rates than other parts of the country.

Organisers say following consultation with iwi, the health board, local council and MPs, they are shifting the event from late December until mid-April.

"Rhythm and Vines’ mission has, and always will be a safe and secure festival for all involved and believes this decision will allow us to keep delivering the best festival experience that over 400,000 young Kiwis have enjoyed since 2003," organisers said in a statement.

After delayed line-up announcements due to the uncertainty of being able to secure MIQ spots during the Delta outbreak the festival had kept tight-lipped on whether it would go ahead over new years.

A petition to cancel the event has already gained thousands of signatures. The page was set up by a Gisborne resident to “protect our locals” from the spread of Covid-19.

Tairāwhiti iwi had also called for the festival to be cancelled.

Other festival events have only just confirmed their line-ups. Events like Gold Rush and Golden Lights confirmed theirs with a few missing international acts from the original roster.

RnV went off without a hitch last year, with international artist Netsky headlining the festival among several Kiwi artists including acts like Shapeshifter and Sir Dave Dobbyn.

This year is a different story with some festivals struggling with the uncertainty. The popular summer festival Bay Dreams hosted in Tauranga announced its cancellation earlier on this year.

The event organisers previously said “we are still awaiting official information from the Government on how exactly this will be facilitated in the festival environment.

"However, it is evidently clear, if you wish to attend Rhythm and Vines at the end of the year, you will need to get yourself vaccinated. Don’t delay and run the risk of missing out, book an appointment now”.

Gisborne’s Tairāwhiti DHB has recorded 87 per cent first dose vaccinations but only have 77 per cent second dose vaccinations, falling well short of the 90 per cent vaccination goal.

The Gisborne-based event sees almost 21,000 people attend the festival with close to 14,000 on-site campers.

The event has been sold out for months, but the uncertainty and lack of information from the event organisers has caused doubt in the minds of festival goers with people slowly reselling tickets.

The new dates are Friday April 15 to April 17, with camping available from April 14.

Tickets are valid for the new dates, and those wanting a refund can get one until December 16.