Brightwater Festival gets back to basics

18:50, Feb 17 2014
Shane Geddes
DIG IN: Shane Geddes gets his hands on some waffles at the Brightwater Wine and Food Festival.

Nelsonians voted with their feet and thousands walked through the gates of the revamped Brightwater Wine and Food Festival on Sunday..

Richmond Rotary Club organisers took a break from running the annual festival last year, after 2012 numbers bombed on the back of high ticket prices.

Sunday's festival, at Brightwater's Middle Earth Vineyard, signalled a return to its roots with $20 tickets, local entertainment and stallholders.

Organising committee member Kevin Gear said the weather was perfect and the turnout was great.

"People came and went but we reckon we had about 4000 through the gates. The whole day was fantastic, the mood was positive, and all the stallholders enjoyed themselves and the entertainment was fantastic. The day was very relaxing and went like clockwork."

About 200 cyclists took up the offer of secure parking and biked to the festival, he said.

Mr Gear said organisers did not yet know how much had been raised but would meet in a week for a debriefing.

Now in its 10th year, the festival has so far raised around $230,000 for local community organisations, with this year's beneficiaries including Brightwater School, Wanderers Sports Club, the Brightwater Rural Fire Force and Richmond Volunteer Fire Brigade, and the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter.

While there were a few things organisers would improve for next year, they would stick to the "back to basics" policy, Mr Gear said. "It'll be local and a truly Nelson event. And we want to thank the public for supporting it."