Bouquets, brickbats for first-time festival

Refuelling at the Rhythm and Alps music festival are (from left) Nasya Gardner, of Oamaru, James Morgan, of Waimate, and Alessandro Bonini, of Italy. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Refuelling at the Rhythm and Alps music festival are (from left) Nasya Gardner, of Oamaru, James Morgan, of Waimate, and Alessandro Bonini, of Italy. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.

Rhythm and Alps organisers say although future festivals will require ''tweaks'' following mixed reviews from some who attended, they are ''ecstatic'' with the event's success at its new site in the Cardrona Valley.

A disorganised check-in process and long waits in queues for entry, drinks and buses were among the criticisms levelled at the festival, held for the first time at Robrosa Station, following its relocation from Methven.

However, other festival-goers reported a positive experience and said the gripes were simply part and parcel of any large-scale event.

Wanaka man Layton Craig (33) said it took his group two hours to get from the car park to the festival's VIP area - for which customers paid extra - and on the Rhythm and Alps Facebook page described the VIP check-in area as a ''complete diabolical shambles''.

''This is organised by RnV [Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne], which have been running these huge music events for long enough to know a little better, I think,'' Mr Craig said.

Others echoed their views and several two-day pass-holders said they would not be returning after day one.

However, while queues were ''pretty bad'', they were ''just like any other festival'', Corbin McNaughton (26), of Christchurch, told the Otago Daily Times at the event.

Sarah Beeby (24), of Timaru, was equally unfazed by the long wait.

''That's what you expect when you come here. It's been amazing. Everyone's so happy.''

Some festival-goers left well before midnight, saying there were too many rules that were too strictly enforced.

Stephanie Walker (27), of England, spoke highly of the ''really well-organised'' event.

''It's because they've got the one up in the North Island, they know what they're doing.''

Penelope McIntyre (22), of Christchurch, disagreed.

''I don't think it was planned really well. They're understaffed and understocked.''

Rhythm and Alps co-founder and director Alex Turnbull said people he spoke to were understanding about the queues.

''We checked in 10,000 people within eight hours ... if they're the only comments we get that's slightly negative, we're pretty happy with that.

''We do have to work a bit harder ... but basically, we want to make sure everyone coming through the door is of age and has been checked for dangerous substances.

''I don't think there's any festival in the world that doesn't take a bit of time to get in.''

Some minor adjustments would be made for the 2014 festival to make it more user-friendly, Mr Turnbull said.

''We're ecstatic. It was so happy. There were no arrests. It was probably the best well-behaved crowd of 10,000 kids that we've ever seen.''