Rhythm and Vines is postponed until Easter weekend but some details about the festival remain unknown for now.
The new dates for the festival are Friday, April 15 to Sunday, April 17, 2022. All tickets purchased for the 2021 festival will remain valid. Festivalgoers will still have the option to camp over four nights from Thursday, April 14, 2022.
The organisers confirmed the move yesterday after weeks of ticketholders demanding answers from the popular festival.
Fans have been given a two-week window to request refunds if they cannot make the new dates, however, it is not clear whether the full line-up will be released prior to this date.
When asked by the Herald about when fans can expect the festival to release the lineup and why the window was just two weeks long, a spokesperson said "the team will now take time to regroup on plans for the 2022 event and look forward to sharing more information in the New Year".
The spokesperson thanked fans for the support and aroha since the decision was announced.
Several ticketholders on social media queried whether the festival would be able to serve alcohol across Easter weekend because of liquor laws, but festival director Keiran Spillane confirmed in an interview with Newstalk ZB's Heather du-Plessis Allan the event had obtained a special licence.
"We operate under a special licence, which obviously sits slightly outside of the normal liquor-licensing legislation. We've had confirmation it shouldn't be a problem, and won't be a problem.
"Our bars will certainly be open for the days of the festival," Spillane said.
The team behind the festival consulted with local iwi and the Tairawhiti DHB before canning the festival's original dates. The Gisborne region remains in the "red" traffic light setting restricting gatherings to 100 if event-goers are fully vaccinated.
The Rhythm and Vines spokesperson told the Herald it would not be possible to hold the festival until the region moved to the "orange" setting of the Covid-19 protection framework.
"The current NZ Government Covid Protection Framework requires the Gisborne Region to be in orange for the festival to go ahead and the team look forward to seeing this happen ahead of the Easter dates."
Before the decision was announced yesterday, the chairpersons of Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata and the chief executive of Ngāi Tāmanuhiri met with the chief executive and festival director of Rhythm and Vines Live Nation, Kieran Spillane, and managing director Mark Kneebone to express concerns about the festival.
Te Aitanga a Māhaki chairman Pene Brown said his board had met and was adamant that the festival should be cancelled because of the threat posed by 24,000 festival-goers pouring into the region.
As well as iwi, event organisers were criticised for lack of response to fans, shutting off comments on social media and leaving questions on their Instagram page ignored.
Spillane told Heather du Plessis-Allan they're disappointed, but it is the right choice to make.
"With Tairāwhiti in a red traffic light and, realistically, it's not going to come out of that until early 2022, it's time to pause and reset."