Festival's sound goes rock 'n' roll

Production crew to work through the night to get the stage in working order after accident in gorge

A 16-wheeler articulated lorry crashes 27km from Opotiki in the Waioeka Gorge. The driver escaped unhurt but the lorry was carrying sound equipment for the Rhythm and Vines music festival in Gisborne.
A 16-wheeler articulated lorry crashes 27km from Opotiki in the Waioeka Gorge. The driver escaped unhurt but the lorry was carrying sound equipment for the Rhythm and Vines music festival in Gisborne.

The Rhythm & Vines crew will be working through the night to get the main stage ready for 25,000 festival goers after a truck carrying important audio equipment rolled off the road yesterday morning.

Organisers said the equipment appeared to have survived the plunge into the Waioeka Gorge, about 50km north of the festival site at Waiohika Estate in Gisborne, which happened about 8.30am.

Inspector Chris Robinson, of the police northern communications centre, said the truck had been hoisted on to the road by crane and the equipment was unloaded on to another truck while it was still upside down.

The truck driver was unhurt and though traffic was reduced to one lane, there were no traffic issues as a result of the incident, he said

Festival spokeswoman Sara Cairney said the equipment was for the main Rhythm Stage, which was to host artists including Kimbra and Mark Ronson - the headline act for New Year's Eve.

"The production crew who got a look at it as they transferred it said it was looking pretty good. We have back-up audio equipment on standby in Auckland ready to be trucked down, but it's looking like we might not need it," Ms Cairney said.

"I think at worst we might need to get a bit of back-up equipment from other stages, but that's going to be fine." Nonetheless, the production crew had been expecting the equipment to arrive yesterday morning so would have to work through the night to get the stage in working order before the first act came on. "They would work really long hours at this point anyway but this definitely added to their workload in a big way."

The festival's camping ground has opened and the punters have started arriving, although the actual festival doesn't open until today, with up to 25,000 people expected to attend.

Festival managing director Scott Witters said the good news was a weather forecast for the region that tipped clear skies and temperatures in the mid-high 20s from today into the New Year.

"It is absolutely brilliant ... Gisborne is definitely going to be the best place in the country to be," he said.

The gear in the truck was professionally packed in road cases designed to be bumped around.

"This stuff is on the road for a couple of hundred days every year so it has to be pretty robust," he said.

"Anything that happens is pretty much par for the course when you are putting a festival together and we just deal with things to make sure the show goes on. That is what we are here to do."

The Rhythm & Vines lineup also includes Home Brew, the Black Seeds, the Presets, P-Money, Booka Shade and Dave Dobbyn.

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