Fire will not stop Sarau Festival

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 13:00 26/01/2013

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Sarau Festival organiser Jenny Leith says the show must go on at Upper Moutere.

After damage from Monday's fire, the February 3 blackcurrant festival has been moved outside to the Moutere Domain. Mrs Leith said the fire had raised a tremendous response from the community, with a record 140 stalls booked.

An extra sales marquee has been added to the mix this year, selling products on behalf of the Sarau Trust which distributes profit from the festival.

Mrs Leith said she expected a portion of this year's funds to be put towards insurance and repairs to the community centre, but the final decision would be made by the trustees after April.

The community centre was built in 2005 at a cost of $2.4 million. Moutere residents paid for 20 per cent of the building's costs, while the council provided 80 per cent.

Mrs Leith said the outdoor location brought new challenges as power and running water were no longer guaranteed.

"Tasman District Council are doing their best, but we'll have to see what they come up with," she said.

She said hiring generators would be "hugely expensive", but businesses such as the Nelson Building Society, CRT and Tasman Crop have donated $4000.

A large marquee has been offered at reduced price by Hirequip, and Astro Environmental have provided portable toilet facilities at a discount.

Mrs Leith said many items used by the organising committee to run the festival were still locked in the burnt-out community centre.

She said insurance investigators were still working on the site, but she expected it to be fenced off before the festival was held.

"The building certainly isn't safe for people to be wandering in and out of," said Mrs Leith.

She said the shower block near Moutere Domain escaped the fire relatively unharmed, and hoped competitors in the Sujon Moutere Valley Mountain Bike Race would be able to use it.

The festival on Sunday, February 3, will start at 3pm, entry adults $5.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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