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Honey Jam music festival to live on

HAMISH M ACLEAN
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013
Honey Jam

CRANKING: Supergroove gets the crowd dancing.

Thomas Oliver
FEAST OF TALENT: Thomas Oliver performs on the main stage.

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A two-day music event in Kerikeri will go ahead in 2014 despite a low turnout at its launch this month.

The Honey Jam Music Festival closed on January 27 with many questioning crowd numbers.

But organisers enthused by the feedback from guests, the crew and artists hope it will become an annual event and say they'll give it one more go next year.

"Yes, it is disappointing, but honestly not unexpected," director and founder Toby Garland says.

"It's an inaugural event so people are always going to be a bit apprehensive about what it's about. Particularly if they're being asked to part with $100 or $135 for the weekend."

He says family-oriented boutique music festivals are prevalent in other parts of the world but those in New Zealand tend to be much bigger with a younger target demographic.

Young families are one of the key groups he wants to attract.

The Honey Jam was a mellow affair, with festival-goers and artists marvelling at the organisation and the sound.

Artist liaison representative Jason Taylor saw a lot of the artists backstage and says they were happy.

"They want the festival to work. They loved the trip up here. They really felt they were taken care of. The hospitality was top notch," he says.

"Which was really humbling to hear. They couldn't say enough about how much we were here for them."

The crew up from Wellington - Louis Baker, The Thomas Oliver Band and The Nudge - is especially keen on coming back next year, he says.

"They were very enthusiastic about the festival."

Bonjah took to the stage just before the last band 1814 closed the festival. Backstage the four-piece Melbourne-based rock act took to the couch to talk to media after their set.

Bass player David Morgan says Bonjah would happily return.

"One hundred per cent, we would love to come back - absolutely."

The location, the set-up and the crew were "all outstanding" he says. Bonjah has just returned from about a six-month hiatus where they concentrated on new material and the Honey Jam audience was among the first to hear their new tunes.

The band was back in its native New Zealand because Mr Morgan was attending the wedding of friends - the Honey Jam was their one date before they continue their current Australian tour up the east coast across the Tasman.

"Everyone has just been so welcoming.

"It's just so well set up, and it's a dream location really," he says.

Work will begin soon for 2014.

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