Fine weather for long weekend, Parachute

SHINE ON: Lighting technician Shaune Tan rigs up a spotlight at Mystery Creek Mainstage.
SHINE ON: Lighting technician Shaune Tan rigs up a spotlight at Mystery Creek Mainstage.

Things look set to hot up at this weekend's Parachute Christian music festival.

The Met Service weather forecast for today, when the first of 80 artists take to five stages at Mystery Creek, is sunny with a high of 25 degrees and a low of 8 degrees overnight.

But things will hot up tomorrow for the thousands under canvas at the annual event, with a high of 26 degrees, cooling to a balmy 15 degrees overnight. Sunday will be overcast, with a high of 25 degrees and 13 overnight. Festival goers may strike camp on Monday morning in forecast showers.

Ticket sales "are ticking along quite nicely" according to Parachute chief executive Mark de Jong.

"We are feeling like we are on track. I am not sure, but I would say we will probably sell out some time at the weekend."

This year, as last, numbers are capped at 17,500 tickets and last year's festival was a sell out.

"It started slower but is increasing faster. It feels good to us."

While big US acts like Casting Crowns and Third Day are not appearing this year, because Mr de Jong has focused on smaller New Zealand artists, he was promising "a few surprises up our sleeves".

But he would not be drawn on what form they might take.

The first act on stage is Auckland-based hip hop trio Unison, who open the festival today at 2.30pm on the Massive stage.

Mainstage, which yesterday was still under construction, starts rocking at 6pm with Christchurch-based pop trio The Make Believe.

Festival goers will be donning their best op shop clobber at the Palladium venue at 10pm tonight for the two-hour long Op Shop Ball presided over by Hamilton band Late 80s Mercedez.

The Parachute Band, which hasn't released an album for a couple of years, is being joined by former Underoath drummer and singer Aaron Gillespie from Tampa, Florida, for worship on Sunday morning and a set on Sunday night.

The event wraps with an hour-long set from the iconic Dave Dobbyn at 10.40pm.

"It will lovely to see and hear Dave Dobbyn," said St Andrews Anglican Church, Cambridge, vicar the Rev Andrew Hedge.

"It will be great."

It's the first time since the 42-year-old was a teenager that he has attended Parachute.

"I first went 25 years ago when Parachute was known as Mainstage at Otaki.

"This is the first year that we have taken a youth group, of 15-18 year olds, and we are really there to support the kids, feeling like camp mum and dad," the reverend said.

This year his daughter, Jessica, talked them into going.

"She's organised everything," Mr Hedge said.

Waikato Times