Overseas acts are keen to play in New Zealand and the 9000 tickets for this year's Ohakune Mardi Gras have sold out.
The annual street party is on June 19 at Ohakune Junction, starting at 4pm and running until midnight. This year overseas acts have been booked and will go through quarantine, Ohakune Events Charitable Trust chairman Stu Robinson said.
They include Dimenson, Culture Shock and Danny Byrd from the United Kingdom, and Nyxen and Blanke from Australia.
"They're very keen to come over here. It's the only place in the world where you can play to huge crowds."
Kiwis who have seen only New Zealand bands for the last year will be equally keen to welcome them.
"The New Zealand public have seen every major New Zealand artist, so it's quite refreshing that we have got some fresh content this year," Robinson said.
Audiology Touring has again been contracted to run the Mardi Gras. It also runs Bay Dreams in Tauranga, a concert of 30,000, and it will run a Queenstown Mardi Gras on June 26 this year.
The Ohakune Mardi Gras was started after the 1995-96 eruptions put a stop to business during a ski season. It gives a lot of hospitality and hotel operators a good financial injection, Robinson said, and is usually held just before there is enough snow for the full ski season.
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Its attendees and 500 workers fill accommodation, restaurants and bars from Raetihi, Ohakune and Waiouru north to National Park, Taumarunui and Turangi. It injects $1.6 million into the local economy and "puts the region on the map".
The format got "a bit tired" in 2017. It was revived by Audiology Touring with an R18 age limit, publicity, and a premium concert starring Pendulum.
Last year Covid-19 crowd limits pushed the Mardi Gras out to November, when the ski season had already finished. It still drew more than 6000 people into the district.
There was bad behaviour and many arrests at some earlier Mardi Gras events, but that changed with the new management.
"Arrests are well down and the level of behaviour is well up. Even the intoxication level has decreased because of the focus on making the product better.
"The kids will still party till 3am. In November they were up early in the day drinking, in costumes, but because of all the things we have put in place the ones that want to play up are quickly removed or educated," Robinson said.