Green light for new festival at Pollard Park in Blenheim

Marlborough 4 Fun chief executive Katrina Lange, left, and council regional events adviser Samantha Young are looking ...
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Marlborough 4 Fun chief executive Katrina Lange, left, and council regional events adviser Samantha Young are looking forward to a music and culinary festival at Pollard Park.

Seafood, beer, wine, music and sunshine - a new festival planned for Marlborough later this year could bring all these crowd favourites together.  

Organisers of the Ocean Vine Hop festival, an R18 event, have been given the go-ahead to hold the event in November. 

Pollard Park, in the heart of Blenheim, has been chosen as the venue, and the event is aimed at festival-goers in their mid-20s to their mid-50s. 

Partygoers at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival could soon have another event to look forward to.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

Partygoers at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival could soon have another event to look forward to.

Marlborough 4 Fun was organising the festival, with input from the hospitality industry, wine, beer and seafood producers and hopefully the Chamber of Commerce. 

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Celebrity chefs, yet to be confirmed, would showcase local products and seafood.

The Marlborough Wine and Food Festival is always a popular event, but this year there could be a new festival in town.
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

The Marlborough Wine and Food Festival is always a popular event, but this year there could be a new festival in town.

Marlborough 4 Fun chief executive Katrina Lange said there would be three headline acts performing, and Marlborough 4 Fun was in the process of "firming up" the details.

"It's a mixture of music to appeal to a different age range." 

The Marlborough District Council's assets and services committee gave the green light for the festival to be held in Pollard Park on Thursday, despite concerns from one councillor about the event's financial viability.

Councillor Mark Peters said he understood the last five or six Blues, Brews and BBQs - celebrating beer and music - had cost the organisers tens of thousands of dollars. 

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Blues, Brews and BBQs organiser Mark Rea said he did not want to comment on the exact amount of money that had been lost, but events were expensive to run.

Low turnout numbers meant the future of Blues and Brews was uncertain. 

"Blenheim people don't seem to get off the couch," he said. 

However, Lange told Peters partial funding from the council had already been secured.

The next step was to consult with neighbouring properties, she said. 

Marlborough was already known for its annual Wine and Food Festival in February, and its Havelock Mussel and Seafood Festival in March, but the Ocean Vine Hop would be more central for Blenheim people. 

"We have all this wonderful produce in Marlborough and we really don't showcase it to its potential," Lange said. 

"It is really exciting." 

The event was planned to start at 11am, and run until 8pm, and was booked in for November 25. 

Marlborough 4 Fun aimed to attract 2000 attendees in the first year, but it had the potential to grow. 

The event had received partial funding of $20,000 from the council's commercial events fund, but sponsorship from the business community would also be needed, Lange said. 

A pre-event party night would hopefully be held at a Blenheim bar, and a post-event Sunday Brunch was planned at The Vines Village Cafe.

A report from the Marlborough 4 Fun organising team said the group received high accolades from police on their management of events, and in particular on security. 

"The latest of these being our management of the New Year's Eve Celebrations Ignite Marlborough, where alcohol was available in nearby restaurants and bars while the event was a no-alcohol zone," the report said. 

"We have strong working relationships with key contractors to ensure smooth running of all aspects of the events." 

Tourist attractions would be promoted prior to and during the festival to exhibit outdoor activities, as well as restaurants, wineries and breweries.  

"This will offer a unique event to the region and kick-start the summer season earlier," the report said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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