The 27 Nativity Youth Community teenagers who made the trip to Hamilton for the Parachute Christian music festival had the time of their lives, rocking to some of the world's best Christian bands and solo musicians from January 25 to 27.
Led by NYC co-ordinator, Jo Lane, the group made a two-day trip out of the journey to Hamilton, stopping to have fun and do what kids do along the way.
"We all had an amazing time," said Jo. "The youth of Marlborough are a great bunch and the Nativity kids are such a happy group."
Made up of students from Marlborough Boys' and Girls' colleges, the group was significantly bigger than last year when just six teens made the trip.
"The boys' college let us use one of their vans, which was really great of them," Jo said.
On the way to Hamilton, the group stayed at St John's in Wellington and again on the way home after their ferry was cancelled.
"These trips never go exactly as planned but that just adds to them and makes them more memorable."
At the festival, the biggest music festival in New Zealand, the NYC joined 16,000 other fans for three days of top quality music covering almost all genres. They also attended several teaching sessions, including a parenting workshop.
"I wanted them to attend that so they could understand a bit of what it is like to be a parent . . .," Jo said.
Two Nativity youth group members, Jayden Paul, 18, and Emma Logan, 17, entered the festival's talent contest and were placed in the top 20.
In true festival style, everyone in the Blenheim group camped at the festival in four-person tents.
Youth group member Hannah Law said she shared a double air-bed with Mary-Claire James and everyone in their tent slept well. As did one of the leaders in a tent opposite hers, she said.
"[They] snored all night, pretty loudly." she said. Hannah did not disclose who it was but said: "Everyone in the youth group will know who I'm talking about".
She was part of a small youth group Jo took to the 2012 Parachute Christian Music Festival and each event has exceeded her expectations. "You're walking in and all you see are hundreds of people and tents and stages and carnival stuff and big stalls . . . I definitely will be going [again] next year."
A ferry delay extended the journey home, making the trip a six-day one, but Jo and Hannah said the time spent travelling was as much a part of the experience as the festival itself.
"It's pretty cool, being able to hang out with a big group of people in vans. There were 12 in each and we changed at each stop," Hannah said.
Months of fundraising had met the $4000 costs for the group to attend the 2013 Parachute festival.
Jo said it would be good to get a van for future youth group trips.
"If any business would like to affiliate themselves with us as a sponsor then that would be great," she said.
- The Marlborough Express