Rhythm and Alps: tickets in hot demand for Cardrona music festival

Rhythm and Alps at dusk.
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Rhythm and Alps at dusk.

All 4500 camping spaces at the Rhythm & Alps music festival in Cardrona have sold out and Wanaka and Lake Hawea holiday parks say they are also fully booked for New Year's Eve.

Festival director Alex Turnbull, of Wanaka, said ticket sales were up significantly on sales at this time last year, with about 7500 people expected to turn up for the two day event.

There are still 1700 tickets available for the December 31 concert and just 300 two-day passes left (December 30-31).

Wanaka's no freedom camping zone is marked in brown; commercial camps are marked by tent and caravan icons.
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Wanaka's no freedom camping zone is marked in brown; commercial camps are marked by tent and caravan icons.

The festival has consent to host up to 10,000 people but Turnbull said he had chosen to cap it at 7500 so the venue did not get too overcrowded.

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"We normally sell 50 per cent of our ticket revenue in the last three weeks in December, so we're on track to hit around the 7000-7500 mark," Turnbull said.

The Wanaka and Lake Hawea holiday parks have had a busy November catering for overseas tourists whose travel plans were disrupted by the Kaikoura earthquake.

Now regular holiday makers and families are getting their turn. Many have booked a full year in advance. 

Although some walk in spaces could become available at New Year, commercial park managers are advising people to plan ahead and check availability.

There is plenty of space at the basic Albert Town camp.

Lake Wanaka Holiday Park manager Aggi Sanders said traditional campers would start arriving on December 26 and would continue to arrive until mid-January.

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Sanders also manages the Albert Town Camping Ground, where no bookings are required.

But for the first time, Sanders has a liquor ban in place at Albert Town to manage youth drinking.

Security staff have been contracted for Albert Town and under-20s must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, she said.

Sanders said the under-20s policy was "town standard".

"Parents will make sure they get something to eat. We will get a really nice atmosphere. They tend not to get so drunk and they start playing cricket with the little ones. It's a nicer family atmosphere," she said.

Lake Hawea Holiday Camp manager Pete Greenhalgh​ said campers had been arriving "thick and fast" throughout November and the camp would fill up from Boxing Day onwards.

A "Y Camp" area has been cordoned off for the 18-25 age group. It can hold about 250 campers and has been completely booked, he said.

While the Lake Hawea Hotel is hosting the Top Paddock Music Festival, many youth campers tended to stay in the camp and enjoy the activities there, he said.

Greenhalgh has engaged security staff and put alcohol policies in place, with strict policing from December 27 to January 3. The camp has zero tolerance for under-age drinking, he said.

​Rhythm & Alps is bringing in at least 40 showers and 120 toilets for its camping customers.

It has 90,000 litres of fresh bore water available for drinking and abluting.

The event is fully licensed and campers are not allowed to carry in their own alcohol.

A camp bar will serve beer and other drinks, while the camp village will serve food, fresh coffee, juice and ice cream.

The festival also provides glamping options.

"We've got the same, if not more, facilities as other camping grounds in the district – our point of difference is that people can buy a cold beer and listen to a huge variety of excellent live music," Turnbull said.

Sixty acts have been confirmed for Cardrona's fourth Rhythm & Alps.

 

 - Stuff

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