15 Oct 2015

NZ music festival on shaky ground

11:01 am on 15 October 2015
The Flaming Lips are part of the lineup for the McLaren Valley Music and Arts festival.

The Flaming Lips are part of the lineup for the McLaren Valley Music and Arts festival. Photo: Supplied

McLaren Valley Festival is moving to Auckland after organisers failed to secure resource consent at McLaren Falls Park.

An announcement has been made today that the festival will move, although no specific location has been confirmed. 

Organisers also confirmed that the festival will be reduced to two days. 

The McLaren Valley Music and Arts Festival, described on its website as "a taste of Glastonbury and Coachella to the Pacific", was orginally advertised to run over three days in January.

Around 50 local and international acts are confirmed including Disclosure, The Flaming Lips, David Dallas and The Chills.

But the festival organisers did not secure the resource consent necessary to run the event at the McLaren Falls Park – a spot situated below the Kaimai Ranges, about 20 minutes’ drive from Tauranga. 

Festival Director Paxton Talbot said he was "incredibly disappointed" to be unable to mount the festival at the picturesque site, but said the event will go ahead at a central Auckland location on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 January.

“We know so many people were excited about this Festival and we are sorry to disappoint our fans who have believed in the vision. We are working to create something special for the event in Auckland”.

Early bird tickets went on sale on August 24 and according to the festival website, all 100 have been sold for $199 each.

Early bird family passes costing $540 have also sold out. Regular tickets for the event are currently available to purchase between $245 and $620.

The Western Bay of Plenty District council has confirmed that the organisers have not submited an application to legally run the festival and Environmental Consents Manager, Chris Watt, says in order to get the go-ahead in time, a “non-notified application” would have to be submitted.

This type of application only takes 20 working days to be processed, but requires the organisers to get the support of all people who will be affected by more than just minor disturbances, says Watt.

It is understood that about 40 signatures from surrounding families and businesses were needed.

A local resident near the McLaren Fall Park says while she supported the proposal, her neighbours weren't so keen.

“The organisers told us it was going to be a family event, but as we found out more about the event I’m not so sure,” says the woman who does not wish to be named.

She says one of the event’s organisers had been around to meet with the local residents, but faced stiff opposition.

“Some of the families up the road did a mail drop with their various concerns and asking people to oppose it.”

“I think it would be great to have something like this. The region really needs it but the locals do have their concerns.”

Ticket purchasers will be offered full refunds or ticket holders can retain their tickets for transfer to the new event.

Details of the new event, including confirmation of the venue, ticketing transfer options and an announcement of more acts, will be released on Wednesday 28 October.


McLaren Valley Music & Arts Festival is moving to Auckland. We are really disappointed that we could not host the...

Posted by McLaren Valley Festival on Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Music festivals in New Zealand have been struggling of late, with SoulFest announcing yesterday that it would not go ahead due to low ticket sales.

Earlier this year, organisers of the small music festival Chronophonium held in Thames faced legal action after running an event without approval from the council.

Last year, organisers of the Martinborough music festival La De Da announced it would end since the event wasn't making enough money.