The Rotorua Blues Festival will not be held this year for the first time since 2007.

BOP Blues, which usually runs the festival over Queen's Birthday weekend, has made the decision to can it this year because it believes it involves too much work for little reward for the club.

But all isn't lost for fans of the popular festival. The club hopes to bring the event back next year bigger and better, but says to do so it needs more financial support.

The festival receives funding from RECT and First Sovereign but the club is calling on the Rotorua Lakes Council to put money towards it again because it says the event brings visitors to city.


The council helped fund the first three festivals and is meeting with the club this week to discuss how it could help next year.

Last year's festival was a six-day event, starting with BOP Club artists performing at the Night Market.

It also included national and international acts performing at bars on Eat Streat during the following days, a headline performance from platinum award winning Kiwi artist Hollie Smith and a ticketed show on the Lakeland Queen.

All events, apart from the one on the Lakeland Queen, were free to the public.

Club president Paul Hindrup said the club had a vision to turn the festival around next year and long-term had visions of attracting big international acts, including the likes of Ben Harper and George Benson.

"I see it (Rotorua) turned into a destination once a year to have one hell of a blues festival ... but at the end of the day we are going to need support from people it is going to benefit."

Related articles:

20 May, 2017 6:45am
4 minutes to read

Mr Hindrup said each year club members put in hundreds of hours of voluntary work to run the festival yet the club saw no financial benefit.

He said since club stalwart and former Belgian Bar owner Peter Jongenelen died, the club no longer had a home.

The club had had discussions about wanting to raise funds to get a lease on a building to run a not-for-profit blues bar, or channel funds back into developing its youth members.

Mr Hindrup said by putting time and effort into the blues festival for no financial gain, those goals were not being met. He said the club had approached the council to seek funding support for next year.

Council events manager Martin Croft said the council gave $5000 each year for the first three years to help get the festival established.

He said the council had several events it needed to fund and there was only so much money to go around. He said the council continually funded flagship events in the city, such as the Rotorua Marathon, but it had to make a call on others because it couldn't afford to fund everything.

"We don't see (the Blues Festival) as a flagship event but it is important."

He said for the council to give ongoing funds or support, it needed to see a plan from the club about how it intended to grow the event.

"If we sit down with the club and work out 'these are the areas where we are struggling' then we can work out how best we can support that."