Parachute expected to sell out
It will be like opening the gates of heaven to the faithful.
The Parachute Christian music festival opens at 11am today, with organisers expecting a sell out of 17,500 tickets sometime over the three day event.
Tickets are capped, the event cut by one day, and the number of performers cut by 30 to 120 in a bid to save costs in the wake of the economic downturn.
''We will probably sell out during the weekend,'' Parachute spokesman Luke Oram said. ''Once that happens it's all over, we will have to turn people away.''
Duncan Phillips, drummer of the headlining band Newsboys who close the festival on Sunday, welcomed the measures
Parachute organisers had taken to keep the 23 year old festival going.
''It's not just New Zealand, we are feeling it here in America for sure,'' Mr Philips said.
''People, because of the downturn, are just a little bit more careful. We have heard stories about some of our fellow artists in Nasville not attending concerts because tickets have not sold. It will turn around. It will get better again.
''The festival has been going for a long time. I think it will pull together really well . . . Parachute has had an effect on the country. For a coutry as small as New Zealand it reall is one of the premier events in the world.''
Mark Millard, lead singer of US based The Lads which is playing tomorrow (Saturday), said Parachute had been amazing for the band which started in Wellington.
''I was speaking to my neighbour in Nashville and I told him I was about to leave to go to Parachute Festival festival - he said 'Oh, Parachute, I've heard of that - isn't it like one of the biggest festivals in the world?' I said to him 'no - not the biggest just the best'.''
Mr Millared said Parachute had worked hard to develop the festival every year so it had a reputation around the world as a great event.
''They realize that unless that continue to innovate and change then there is a danger they'll go the same way as other festivals in New Zealand and overseas and just die. So I think what they are doing with tickets prices is great - they're looking for new ways to invent the festival to keep it relevant today.''
Tickets are abpout 25 per cent cheaper than last year.
Day passes are $75 for an adult, $30 for a child and $164 for a family pass.