The Coastella Music Festival won't take place next year and its long-term future is uncertain.

First staged in 2016, the boutique festival has attracted over 10,000 festivalgoers to Kāpiti's Southward Car Museum over the past four years.

"Many of our stakeholders will be disappointed especially the public," said festival co-director Paul Brown.

"But the reality is that events are hugely expensive to stage.


"People look at it and think you're making money hand over fist, but even a break-even scenario is extremely hard to reach.

Coastella Music Festival directors Gerry Paul and Paul Brown.
Coastella Music Festival directors Gerry Paul and Paul Brown.

"It's the 'use it or lose it' scenario, so while a lot of people gave us tremendous support we just didn't get the ticket sales that we needed."

Brown and co-director Gerry Paul started the festival with a vision to create an iconic event in Kāpiti that brought the community together, was family friendly, had great music, diverse food offerings and craft beer.

"It has been like a baby we have nurtured and put our heart and soul into the past few years, but we took quite a loss this year and it's not sustainable under this model," Brown said.

"We are not ruling out changing it to biannual but need to figure out what that could look like."

Since its inception, Coastella has contributed over $1m to the local economy.

Warren Maxwell performing as part of Trinity Roots was a crowd favourite this year. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Warren Maxwell performing as part of Trinity Roots was a crowd favourite this year. Photo / Rosalie Willis

While festival attendance grew steadily in the first three years, numbers decreased in 2019.

The directors attribute this to a rise in regional events with concerts like Eminem selling 47,000 tickets a week from the Coastella date.


And the weather also played its part with cyclone warnings forecast for the festival date, although these did not eventuate.

With over 60 per cent of attendees coming from Wellington, two car accidents on SH1 also left festivalgoers in traffic queues for over two hours before the festival and resulted in many turning around.

"We want Coastella be an event we are really proud of," Paul said.

"The aspects that people loved were the multiple stages, eclectic programming and diverse creative zones, the efficient transport options, the community music initiative, the mihi whakatau performed by local kaumātua, youth performances — the whole Coastella experience.

Richer City Rebels entertained the crowd.
Richer City Rebels entertained the crowd.

"While we could cut back on some of these areas, it would then become the same as many other festivals and that wasn't what we set out to do."

Trinity Roots, the Phoenix Foundation, the Black Seeds, Don McGlashan, The Beths, Soaked Oats and RAW Collective are just a few of the local and national acts to have shared the stage with musicians from Australia, Ireland, Holland, Brazil and Japan.

Several of the acts also performed and workshopped at local primary schools around Kāpiti, as part of the Coastella Community Music Initiative.

The pair say they are hugely grateful for the support given over the past four years, receiving funding from the Kāpiti Coast District Council as well as sponsorship from local brewery Tuatara, Havana Coffee Works, Air Chathams, D4 Bars and Restaurant proprietor Dermot Murphy, NZME and Radio Active.

Volunteers also contributed hugely to the festival, with over 120 working at each event and Coastella winning the Rising Star Award at the Wellington Airport Community Awards for volunteer contribution.

Coastella is looking to investigate different models including a joint venture partnership, crowd-funding, setting up as a not-for-profit and whether February is the right month for a festival in Kāpiti.

They urge people to sign the mailing list via their website and Facebook page to keep informed with future decisions and announcements.