Rhythm and Vines gets Central feel

Rhythm and Alps promoters Hamish Pinkham, left, Alex Turnbull and Kieran Spillane on site.
Rhythm and Alps promoters Hamish Pinkham, left, Alex Turnbull and Kieran Spillane on site.

The Rhythm and Alps music festival's move south has resulted in a need to beef up preparation crews and staff numbers after an unexpected ticket rush.

The December 30 and 31 festival features some of the biggest headlining names in the international and New Zealand music scene, but caters for varied tastes with a few rockers cropping up on the bill.

Previously, the festival was held near Mt Hutt in Canterbury, but promoters the Rhythm Group - the masterminds behind Gisborne's hugely successful Rhythm and Vines festival - decided a strategic move south would ramp the event to new heights.

Quite how high those would be were not exactly expected but have been warmly welcomed after a scramble to cater for much larger than expected ticket sales.

Rhythm and Alps and Rhythm and Vines co-founder and director Hamish Pinkham yesterday said early preparation work had paid off, with the site at the Cardrona Valley's Robrosa Station offering a uniquely "Central Otago look and feel".

"The grass is grown, the camping sites are all looking good, and the art department are adding the final flourishes that will give everything that real X factor that sticks in people's memories once they've walked away from the experience of having an awesome festival to usher in their new year," he said.

The art department, compromising film crew, special effects professionals and landscapers had build a large log cabin, erected huge shade sails, prepped the banks of a stream to transform it into an idyllic cocktail-sipping, music listening and people-spotting haven, and were working on a "where the wild things are" grove of trees implanted with sound-system and natural dance floor.

Initial crowd numbers were estimated to peak at 5000, with a "start small" mindset from promoters when moving to the new location. However, final numbers are now looking like tipping over the 8000-mark, which resulted in a scramble to cope logistically.

"We had to pull some of our staff from Gisborne to help us out down here, but going bigger than initially anticipated is the way to go when you've got that buy-in and demand from punters.

"Being in the game for a decade with Rhythm and Vines means we've got the crews and resources to handle it, and we'll be able to steamroll that momentum into next year's gig and bring bigger artists down here for a more spectacular show."

The Queenstown Lakes District Council had streamlined the permit process, approaching the necessary paperwork behind putting on the festival a co-operative and supportive partnership, Mr Pinkham said.

"It's been a great partnership. With our experience we feel we're a pretty good example of how to manage large crowds really effectively, and the Queenstown council has made that process really easy for us."


Rhythm and Alps, featuring Rudimental DJ set, David Dallas, High Contrast, ShapeShifter, The Veils, DJ Zinc, Cairo Knife Fight, P-Money, Truth, Bulletproof, MayaVanya and many more.

WHEN: December 30 and 31

WHERE: Robrosa Station in the Cardrona Valley.

See rhythmandalps.co.nz for more details and remaining tickets. 

The Southland Times