Rhythm and Alps to rock new site

By Ben Irwin

Cardrona Valley event to attact about 7500

Shapeshifter are among the bands playing at Robrosa Station for Rhythm and Alps.
Shapeshifter are among the bands playing at Robrosa Station for Rhythm and Alps.

Eleven years after co-founding Gisborne music festival Rhythm and Vines to "avoid working as labourers" for summer, Hamish Pinkham and his Rhythm Group have branched out and moved the party south.

Sister festival Rhythm and Alps - which has been held at Terrace Downs Resort in the Canterbury foothills for the past two years - has found a new home at Robrosa Station in the Cardrona Valley, nestled between Wanaka and Queenstown.

Mr Pinkham said the Canterbury site was a great way to "feel out" the concept of a second festival, but the plan had always been to move to Central Otago.

Mr Pinkham and Rhythm and Alps festival director Alex Turnbull spent a week earlier in the year scouting out 16 possible locations by "just knocking on doors", looking for the perfect location.

"From Mt Aspiring Station, Highland Park in Cromwell, Jack's Point in Queenstown ... we settled on the Cardrona Valley," Mr Pinkham said."It ticked a number of boxes for us and that's where we found our new home."

And so far, the move appears to have been a shrewd one.

The festival is set to sell out, with 7500 revellers expected to attend - nearly doubling last year's crowd.

"You only have to look at the ticket sales to see it was the right move," Mr Pinkham said. "It was something we always discussed - moving the event to Central Otago - and it just shows there's a gap in the market for some entertainment over that period."

Camping is available on site, while buses will be shifting festival-goers to the site from Wanaka and Queenstown.

As well as a change of location, the festival has also had a slight change of date.

Last year's festival ran for two days from December 28, while this year it will take place on the 30th and 31st, which puts it in direct competition with Rhythm Group's flagship event - Gisborne's New Year's juggernaut Rhythm and Vines.

"The Rhythm experience is only going to get better," Mr Pinkham said. "[Rhythm and Alps] is going to start to give Gisborne a run for its money."

The popularity of Rhythm and Alps has been such that organisers have had to limit capacity of Rhythm and Vines to 25,000 and shift resources south to cope with the demand.

"We're just trying to manage the expectations I guess," Mr Pinkham said. "We want to deliver the best festival experience we can given the growth of Alps and having to redirect some of our staff to cope with the growth, we just want to make sure we're doing things as best we can. If we can achieve in Wanaka half of what we've been able to do in Gisborne - on the edge of the world - we'll be in good stead."

Rhythm and Alps

Robrosa Station, 15 minutes drive from Wanaka.

December 30

Rudimental (DJ set)
Shapeshifter
High Contrast

December 31:

Zane Lowe
DJ Zinc
Tahuna Breaks

Full line-up and festival details at www.rhythmandalps.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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