The doof, and nothing but the doof
New Zealand's longest-running dance party starts in the Wairoa Gorge tonight, freshly invigorated after winning an Environment Court battle with the Tasman District Council last year.
Alien Nation is on for four days and three nights at the right branch of the Wairoa Gorge, southeast of Nelson. The event started with just 30 lovers of trance (also known as 'doof' music) 11 years ago, and has grown to several hundred.
“Alien Nation is not just a disco in the forest, it's a gathering of the tribe,” organiser Warwick Harrington said.
Fans of Alien Nation raised money to help with court costs for the hearing in May last year, which saw the council charge Mr Harrington with not having resource consents to hold the 2011 event on a private property near Tapawera, nor for the 2012 event on Department of Conservation reserve in the Wairoa Gorge.
The council argued that Mr Harrington ran the dance party as a commercial activity and therefore needed consent, as people had to pay to attend it and there were food and beverage stalls at the party.
Mr Harrington argued that the event did not need consent as it was a recreational event, not a money-making enterprise.
Judge Brian Dwyer disagreed with the council and found Mr Harrington not guilty of the two charges of contravening the Resource Management Act, deciding that the two parties fell within the definition of a recreational activity.
Organiser Moxley Du Feu, a seven-year crew veteran, said things were all on track for today's event. "Everything's lovely jubbly," she said.
Crew were expecting the usual crowd of about 320 people, attracted by a mix of top Kiwi, Australian, and other international acts.
She said the love of the event and a solid group of friends drew them back each year.
"It's for the love of the music; seeing beautiful friends who make the effort to travel across the nation or internationally. It's our big annual festival. For most of us our year revolves around this event."
Ms Du Feu said the crew and attendees were environmentally conscious and didn't like to leave a footprint.
"We pride ourselves on that; we're meticulous in our rubbish clean-up after the fact. We might be seen as a bunch of hippies but we're not really; we just give a damn about what we do."
■ The 2013 event runs from this afternoon until Monday February 11. Tickets are $120 on the gate. For more information see aliennation.co.nz.
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