Parachute music festival here to stay
Five more years at Mystery CreekANDREA FOX
The future of the Parachute music festival at Waikato's Mystery Creek is safe for another five years.
Organisers of the Christian music event have signed a five year contract with the sprawling Mystery Creek Events Centre south of Hamilton after struggling to stay afloat due to reduced ticket sales in the economic downturn and Hamilton City Council exiting its sponsorship.
A cash contribution in the shape of reduced site fees in January from the events centre ensured the festival could be held in January this year at Mystery Creek, its home for the previous eight years.
The drug and alcohol-free event featuring local and international bands drew 20,000 visitors, with many staying onsite.
The 2013 event on January 25-27 will be Parachute's 10th anniversary at the Waipa district site.
Mystery Creek Events Centre chief executive Jon Calder said his not-for-profit organisation had been working with Parachute to create a new business model that gave both entities the flexibility and scope to meet their respective needs.
Parachute Music chief executive Mark de Jong said a number of factors discouraged the event from returning to Hamilton, ''including Hamilton City Council unexpectedly backing out of their usual sponsorship...."
Mystery Creek's flexibility in dealing with Parachute had been key to keeping the festival in the Waikato, he said.Tickets for Parachute 2013 are on sale in stages, with the first two tiers sold out.
Headline acts include Switchfoot, Hillsong United, Newsboys Family Force Five, and Evermore.Mystery Creek offers 115 hectares for large multi-day events.
It is the only events centre in New Zealand that can accommodate 30,000 campers with showers, flushing toilets and all necessary amenities to stay onsite.
The big site is to be developed under a master plan over the next 15 years.