It's party time come rain or shine

By AMY SHANKS


People looking to buy tickets to the Hawke's Bay Blues, Brews and BBQ's festival in January are assured it will go ahead whatever the weather.

Heavy downpours caused organisers to pull the plug last year, so a back-up under cover venue has been secured at the A&P; Showgrounds in Hastings to eliminate the risk of rain causing cancellation this time around.

Now in its ninth year, the festival will be held on Saturday, January 14, offering a fun day of entertainment, boutique brews, great music and fine food.

Festival coordinator Kevin Murphy said it was a great chance to experience something different during the winery concert season.

Despite the name, he said it was no longer a blues fiesta - the mix of bands will appeal to all ages and tastes.

Hailing from Hawke's Bay, the five-piece Phil Edwards Band will perform a blend of folk, blues, roots and country. The band have played other high-profile festivals including Rhythm and Vines and the Moomba Water Festival in Melbourne.

Devils Elbow and Naked Gun play in the evening, along with indie-rock band Clap Clap Riot.

Rounding out the line-up are veteran Bay covers band Sir Duke, with hits from the 1950s to the present and The Retrobates, covering British rock and new wave songs.

While the bands play, festival goers can sample craft beers from boutique and big-brand breweries along with cider, local wines, non-alcoholic beverages and gourmet grill fare from 22 sites.

"It is really the only true Hawke's Bay festival over summer next year," Mr Murphy said.

The popular Action Indoor Sports Dodgeball competition will be back complete with prizes.

People can also vie for giveaways from House of Travel by taking part in the 'best fancy dress' competition.

Blues, Brews and BBQs festival-goers are encouraged to come in fancy dress and face painting can be used to enhance a costume.

Gorgeous glittering girls and ghoulish zombies are expected to make their appearance, thanks to the creative talent of Jakkii Goody and her face-painting team from Fab Art.

Body art goes hand-in-hand with revelry, Goody said, and she is looking forward to transforming party-goers into show-stealing canvases.

"When people are having a good time at an event like Blues, Brews and BBQs, they want to get into the swing of things, experience face painting and get into fancy-dress mode."

This year's Festival venue is the tree-studded Waikoko Gardens at the A&P; Showgrounds, which Mr Murphy said would enhance the festival's character but the smaller area meant ticket numbers would be limited to 3000, so he advised people to get in early.

Businesses have a chance to buy one of just two corporate marquee sites available by contacting Mr Murphy. As well as providing a base at the event for staff and clients, Mr Murphy said the corporate sites give businesses a great brand presence before 3000 expected festival goers.

The parking area used during the Hastings Farmers Market will be available, with entry off Kenilworth Rd.

Tickets are available from Ticket Direct for an early bird price of $30 plus booking fee before January.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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