10th Rippon festival first not sold out

Wanaka's Rippon music festival founder Lynne Christie looks over the event venue, Rippon Vineyard, yesterday. The 10th festival takes place on Saturday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Wanaka's Rippon music festival founder Lynne Christie looks over the event venue, Rippon Vineyard, yesterday. The 10th festival takes place on Saturday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
For the first time in a decade, Wanaka's traditionally sold-out Rippon music festival will have tickets available at the gate on Saturday.

However, despite the slower-than-usual ticket sales this year, festival founder Lynne Christie says Rippon has not lost its mojo and will be marking its milestone 10th event in style with some surprises for the crowd.

Between 3500 and 4000 people are expected at the not-for-profit one-day festival, which has been held at Rippon Vineyard's natural amphitheatre since the first event in 1998. It ran annually until 2000 when it was changed to a two-yearly event and is the country's longest-running festival featuring all-New Zealand music.

''We're stoked with that achievement so we do want to celebrate that,'' Ms Christie said.

The ''few little surprises'' planned, mainly for after dark, would include more audience involvement to celebrate Rippon number 10.

''The audience is obviously the vital part of that celebration and we're acknowledging that fact and bringing them in and rewarding them and thanking them.''

Rippon tickets have sold out weeks in advance in previous years and Ms Christie said it was possible the Rhythm and Alps music festival, held in the Cardrona Valley for the first time over New Year, had put a dent in sales this time around.

''Maybe yes, maybe no. But Rhythm and Alps have been great to us with helping with equipment and stuff like that ... and it's always good to have new things popping up, new businesses, new enterprises.

''We know this is going to be a great festival and we'd rather focus on that.''

She hoped continuing to hold Rippon every second year would retain its appeal for locals and keep it ''one of those gems of living in Wanaka''.

A new feature of this year's festival will be a fun zone for children, to give the event a more family-friendly focus.

''Just to sort of acknowledge the fact that we've all grown up and it's nice to have the kids here for their first festival experience.''

Artists performing on Saturday include Fat Freddy's Drop, The Phoenix Foundation, Ladi6 and Electric Wire Hustle.

Profits from the festival are put back into music education in the Upper Clutha.

- lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz