New beers, new bands, new bar technology and even a new month. The sixth annual Marchfest - on April 6 next year, a week or so later than usual - will be a must for craft beer fans from around the country, says co-organiser Mic Dover.
He told a function launching the festival this week that a record 15 breweries have committed to producing new beers for the event at Founders Park, and the entertainment lineup has been confirmed.
Marchfest gave the Nelson community a unique opportunity to celebrate living in the hop-growing capital of New Zealand, Mr Dover said.
He said the later date next autumn coincidentally would help Marchfest avoid a significant new beerfest in Auckland, announced this week for March 23.
"We're delighted that we're going to be avoiding that, as each year we are finding more and more craftbrew fans from out of the region are coming to Marchfest," he said.
"We're also hoping for more settled weather this time."
A record 15 local and regional craft breweries have committed to produce a new beer for Marchfest this year. Among them are a lager from Totara called Gold Rush, a "mint lager" from Lighthouse, Love Mussel, a mussel porter from the Mussel Inn, and Crowd Pleaser, a lager from Golden Bear.
Brewers Renaissance and 8Wired, which did not take part in 2012, are back on the lineup for next year and Dale's Brewing Co will appear at its first Marchfest with Extra Special Bitter.
The music lineup features Kiwi supergroup The Bellbirds (with Don McGlashan and SJD) as well as Wellington funk/reggae outfit Newtown Rocksteady, indie favourites Mara and the Bushkas, country folksters Hobnail Trio, local alt rockers The Immigrants and mystery act Infinite Mellow Ipod.
New bar technology has been imported from Britain and extra satellite bars will be spread around Founders Park to speed up serving times. A beer and food matching gourmet lunch will be held for the first time in the Granary to kick off Brew Zone events.
Cider and wines will be supplied by local supporters Peckham's and Blackenbrook respectively.
For more information and to buy tickets online go to marchfest.com.
- The Nelson Mail
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