Festival ready for the people
The Marlborough Wine and Food Festival tents were set up in record time this year and ready for the wineries and food vendors to arrive today, said site manager Geoff Beavis.
Mr Beavis, managing his seventh festival, said setting up was simply an exercise of getting the right gear into the right space.
The site was marked out on Monday and two truck and trailer loads of tent equipment arrived on Tuesday morning.
"This is the earliest we've been set up," he said yesterday about 4pm.
Members of the Blenheim Rowing Club would help pack away the Brancott vineyard site, on Brancott Rd off New Renwick Rd, on Saturday night, Mr Beavis said.
"The event finishes at 6pm and we are pretty much straight into it. We will work to about 9.30pm and start again the following morning at 8.30am."
The team should be finished by 2pm on Sunday.
"By that stage, a rather large cold beer will be waiting for me."
Before then, Mr Beavis planned to make the most of the festival, organised by Wine Marlborough.
His highlight was sending a text to the Nanchang pilot who flies the vintage aircraft over the festival.
"He will be buzzing around the foothills of the Wither Hills then he'll come in full noise, low level.
"I always get someone from the crowd to hit the ‘send' button and say ‘Watch this'. You see everybody sitting down here and their heads rock up."
Festival stage manager Tim Scandrett said the sound equipment arrived at 1pm today.
It takes about five hours to set up before they start sound checks, Mr Scandrett said.
"Everything will be all right by the end of the night, hopefully by 9pm," he said.
"But it has to be right, so we'll be finished when we are finished."
Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said yesterday only the security fencing and fire extinguishers needed to be erected.
More than 60 wineries and 25 food sites, including TV One's The Food Truck, were attending this year's festival, Mr Pickens said.
He expected more than 7000 people to attend.
Ticket sales had spiked this week, Mr Pickens said.
"It's really taken off. All the locals leave it quite late but everyone wants a ticket now."
Tickets are available at Blenheim i-Site or at the gate on Saturday.
The centre of Blenheim will be closed from 9am till 4pm today for the Annual Festival Market Day.
Bus transport to the Wine and Food Festival runs from 10.30am till 2pm from the following stops:
The last bus departing the festival will leave at 7pm.
Tickets are available on the day from the driver.
A return fare is $15.
The Marlborough Express