Evolve Festival offers camping option

CITY CAMPING: Evolve Festival organisers Chai and Bex Deva. For the first time this year the festival will be offering camping.
CITY CAMPING: Evolve Festival organisers Chai and Bex Deva. For the first time this year the festival will be offering camping.

Camping in the pretty setting of Founder's Heritage Park will add an extra dimension to the annual Evolve Festival.

Attendees at the annual health and wellbeing festival can camp under Nelson skies at the festival site for the first time this year.

Bristol field is being offered to tents and camper vans, while those wanting a more upmarket experience can go glamping in special lotus bell tents, with a real bed and the soft glow of fairy lights near the lake.

Evolve Festival directors Bex and Chai Deva say camping will add to people's experience of the growing two-day event.

Aside from Taranaki's annual WOMAD festival, they are not aware of another similar festival in New Zealand offering the chance to camp at an inner-city event.

The festival will be used as a test case for camping at the site.

The idea to offer camping stems from people asking if they could camp at Founders, Bex and Chai's experience of other festivals and their desire to attract more people to the festival from out of town.

Camping deepens a participant's experience of a festival, and Founders has an "awesome site", they say.

The couple are in the fourth year of their five-year plan to grow the festival and they say camping is central to that plan.

"It was part of our vision quite early on and going back to the UK and working other sites it made us realise what it added to an event."

Eco-showers and toilets will be brought on site.

There is room for 250 to camp, but they hope to build it up to 750. The tent sites are alcohol and smoke free.

Evolve Festival was renamed from the Festival of Opportunities in 2011 when Bex and Chai tookover.

This is its 23rd year and it will host more than 100 stalls offering a range of products, services, therapies and information "to nourish the body, soothe the mind and ignite the spirit".

The ever-popular clairvoyants and mediums will be there as well as more mainstream stalls. A range of complementary health practitioners will also be available to share their knowledge.

Chai says the festival offers everything ranging from the alternative, to Christianity, so people should be able to find information on ideas that connect with them.

"It's very much a smorgasbord [of information] for people on offer so people can see what tastes good for them."

As well as the stalls there are a number of workshops over the festival's two days. These include astrology, natural remedies, relaxation, energy healing, past life therapy and African drum and dance.

Chai says the workshops and seminars are designed to stimulate, challenge, engage and entertain.'

More than 2000 people came to last year's festival and it had "great feedback".

Bex says people are coming to the festival from around the world and this year there are stalls from Australia, the United States and Canada.

The festival begins on Friday with an opening ceremony.

Music will also feature on Saturday night with artists from the UK reggae band Bob Hillary and the Massive Mellow and the Formidable Vegetable Sound System.

Tickets are available on eventfinder and evolvefestival.co.nz with early bird options.

  • Evolve Festival, Founders Heritage Park, February 14-16.