Attendance at Blues, Brews and BBQs at all-time low

00:38, Feb 04 2013
Helter Skelter
Helter Skelter
 Chris Pope
Chris Pope serves beers at the Speights tent to raise funds for the Wairau cricket team.
Stuart Dow and Wayne Bushell
Stuart Dow and Wayne Bushell from the Serious Straws hat stall.
Richard, Jessie and Gina Lousley
Richard, Jessie and Gina Lousley
 Craig Bull
Winner of the home brewers of Marlborough competition 2013 Craig Bull
Kelly Patchett and Chonnie Galvin.
Kelly Patchett and Chonnie Galvin.
Gregory Raye
Dancing and drinking at once Gregory Raye
Melissa Edwards, Danii Kilworth and Kate Lewer
Melissa Edwards, Danii Kilworth and Kate Lewer
Benjamin Walsh
Benjamin Walsh with his mum Julie Walsh.
Darian Carrich, Shiloh Walsh
Darian Carrich, Shiloh Walsh
Liz Goodwin and Lisa Nuebold
Liz Goodwin and Lisa Nuebold
Andy Endersby, Scott Hantz, Kathryn Halstead and Olivia Burns
St John relaxing in the shade, L-R Andy Endersby, Scott Hantz, Kathryn Halstead and Olivia Burns
Larissa Harris, Kate Lawson, Debbie Collins and Cherie Boyd
Larissa Harris, Kate Lawson, Debbie Collins and Cherie Boyd
Rachel Crouch and Jacinta Sheridan
Rachel Crouch and Jacinta Sheridan
Greg Bennett, Wayne Wiffen, John Gilbert and Trevor Roughan
Winners of the leaner competition L-R Greg Bennett, Wayne Wiffen, John Gilbert and Trevor Roughan
Michelle Baker and Acaccia Takimoana
Michelle Baker and Acaccia Takimoana
Holly Lyall and Nadine Dight
Holly Lyall and Nadine Dight came second in the leaner competition
Maria Suarez and Darryl Moore
Maria Suarez and Darryl Moore
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith the tiger and AD Small the penguin
Sam Smith
Dodson Street Beer Garden manager Sam Smith
Sara Fenwick
Tui Brewery staff: Sara Fenwick, Tiki Fenwick, Rachael Snowdon and Joce Watson
Anita Ireland
Candyfloss woman - Anita Ireland
Stacey Cameron and Aleesha Cameron
Prenzel sisters, Stacey Cameron and Aleesha Cameron

Despite the sun shining and the temperature reaching almost 28 degrees Celsius on Saturday, the turnout at the 20th Blues, Brews and BBQs festival held at the A&P Showgrounds in Blenheim was at an all-time low.

Festival organiser Graeme Boon said ticket sales had yet to be tallied but he estimated about 2000 people attended the event.

"We were down on numbers," said Mr Boon, who has been involved in the festival since it began in 1994.

"It was definitely the lowest turnout in 20 years."

It was too early to say whether the festival would be put on again next year, he said.

"I can't say until we've gone through everything, which will probably take months."

Advertisement

Despite the low numbers, reports from those who attended had been really positive, he said.

The festival was open to all ages for the first time in the past four years, however most people there were over 18.

"Not that many parents took their children, but it was good they could come along with the kids," Mr Boon said.

Festival-goers enjoyed a variety of beers and food on offer from the 22 stalls, with only a handful of people too drunk to serve near the end of the day.

Lion Breweries sales executive Greg Logan said the location of their Mac's and Speight's stalls next to the stage helped keep the punters coming.

"It was a great day, a good mix of people," he said. "Everyone was pretty merry, there were no real messy ones."

Despite dwindling numbers, the brewery would return to the festival next year.

It was not a commercial decision but a community one, with funds from the Speight's stall going to the Wairau Cricket Club, he said.

The heat didn't stop punters from dancing to the live music, with Wellington band The RatBags and Blenheim band Helter Skelter drawing crowds to the stage area.

Police had an uneventful day compared to past years, arresting just one woman after she bit an officer.

Acting Sergeant Andy Watson, of Blenheim, said police were pleased with revellers' overall behaviour. "Most people acted responsibly and the event was conducted well."

The best leaner award went to longtime attendee Trevor Roughan and his crew who had never missed a blues and brews festival.

Their leaner originated from an old gokart and had undergone a few changes over the years, he said.

Each year it was wheeled from New Renwick Rd to the festival.

"It takes two beers to get down here and none to get back."

Mr Roughan was unaware the turnout was low.

"I didn't think times were that tough that people couldn't afford to come to something like this," he said.

The plastic cups may have influenced people's decision to come, he said. "I know half a dozen mates who won't come because they can't use glass."

The Marlborough Express