100m drinks queue upsets Laneway festival goers

By Amelia Wade

Crowds enjoy the music at St Jerome's Laneway Festival at Silo Park, Auckland. While the music was liked, the queues for drinks were not. Photo / Richard Robinson
Crowds enjoy the music at St Jerome's Laneway Festival at Silo Park, Auckland. While the music was liked, the queues for drinks were not. Photo / Richard Robinson

Thirsty revellers at yesterday's St Jerome's Laneway festival were left waiting for up to an hour to get drinks coupons while they missed seeing bands perform.

The festival was one of many held over the long weekend, with numerous events held yesterday on Auckland Anniversary Day to celebrate the city's 172nd birthday.

Much of the celebrations were on the water with crowds gathered along the Waitemata Harbour to watch the Anniversary Day Regatta which included waka ama, 300 dragon boat paddlers and an armada of more than 20 vintage tugboats and America's Cup prototypes.

Aucklanders were also treated to an impressive display of loop-the-loops by aerobatic teams.

And buskers from around the world and the very best of New Zealand seafood kept Aucklanders busy at the International Buskers Festival and the Auckland Seafood Festival.

But punters at Laneway music festival, held at Silo Park in the Wynyard Quarter, were left frustrated and thirsty thanks to the festival's system for buying drinks.

People had to buy coupons in order to buy beverages, but the coupon system was less than ideal for some who were left waiting in a line about 100m long.

Jasmine Wilkinson vented her frustration on the Laneway New Zealand Facebook page.

"Queue for drinks tokens now over 100m long and ONE person serving each ... missing the festival Laneway and your vendors missing on selling drinks!" she said.

Festival organisers said the problem was temporary and the result of an eftpos failure.

Despite a number of thirsty revellers, the festival went off without a hitch with the 6500-strong crowd behaving themselves and police making no arrests.

It was also a happy ending for summer festivals which have been plagued by slow ticket sales.

Twenty thousand people turned up to the fifth annual Raggamuffin festival, which is dedicated for reggae, dub and roots lovers, in Rotorua on Saturday.

Highlights from the day were acts such as Sly & Robbie, Ali Campbell's UB40, Arrested Development and Katchafire.

Raggamuffin offered a reduced price for tickets on the gate by organisers who hoped for a large number of walk-up punters - an effort which paid off.

As well as the 20,000-strong crowd on the Saturday, 4500 turned out to the "pre-party" on Friday night.

Promoter Andrew McManus said he was thrilled with the attendance and that it was the "best Raggamuffin yet".

The festival went off without much of a hitch - three people were arrested at Friday night's event for drugs, intoxication and resisting arrest and six people were arrested at the stadium on Saturday night for intoxication, disorderly behaviour and assaulting police.

And at the Parachute Festival, held at Mystery Creek near Hamilton, organisers were also pleased with the turnout.

About 20,000 people enjoyed the dozens of bands on four stages, carnival rides, food stalls and other attractions at the four-day drug-and alcohol-free event which finished yesterday.

Parachute spokesman Luke Oram said organisers were "really stoked" with the turnout - which included more than 1000 families who took up the festival's pay-what-you-can-afford promotion for tickets.

Mr Oram said the promotion, which offered family passes priced between $1 and $250 after sluggish sales, helped boost the festival's attendance.

"There's no doubt that helped. It also really helped change the vibe of the festival to a cool family buzz."

- NZ Herald

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