Christian festival hits helpful note

SIENA YATES
Last updated 11:00 10/01/2013

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Organisers of New Zealand's longest-running musical festival are once again helping struggling music fans get to Parachute.

Ticket prices have been cut for this year's event and the popular "pay what you can afford" initiative, which was a hit last year, is back.

Organiser Luke Oram said this was a response to a tough financial year and a highly competitive summer events market, despite the loss of festival favourite Big Day Out.

"With more than 20 major events taking place over summer, we felt compelled to extend generosity to families who otherwise couldn't afford to make it to Parachute," Mr Oram said.

About 1380 families attending Parachute last year took advantage of the initiative.

Would-be festival-goers will also welcome the reduced ticket prices this month. Family passes are down to $309 from $465, and a full weekend adult pass is $124 (from $189).

Student discounts and lay-by options are also available.

"Lower than usual ticket sales were definitely one motivating factor for the scheme, but it was just as much a response to overwhelming feedback from our punters who had suffered from a tough financial year," Mr Oram said.

"It's no mystery that 2012 was a hard year for festivals across the board, and there were unfortunate casualties as a result.

"We chose to get creative in the light of our challenges.

"As it stands, ticket sales for Parachute 2013 are really healthy."

Parachute organisers have taken to fundraising website Givealittle to rack up donations, and for every $200 raised, one family will be able to pay what they can, and Parachute will pay the difference.

This has already raised $24,270.

The price cut comes after the event was moved to a smaller space at Mystery Creek, which reduced capacity by 7500 to 17,500.

However the festival still offers the same services, the same stages, and the same number of bands.

"This is our 23rd year, which makes Parachute NZ's longest-running festival," Mr Oram said. "We plan on sticking around."

The festival runs from January 25-27 at Mystery Creek. For more information, tickets, or to apply for the "pay what you can afford" scheme, visit parachutefestival.com.

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- Waikato Times

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