Festival to stay put

The Hokonui Moonshiners' Festival will stay in Gore's heritage precinct this year after a proposed new venue was double-booked.

Festival organisers met last week to discuss the double-booking of the Southern Field Days site (in Waimumu, near Gore) with the Young Farmer of the Year Otago-Southland regional final.

Hokonui Moonshiners' Festival committee spokesman Jim Geddes said it was decided that with top New Zealand performers Opshop and Annah Mac headlining this year's festival, staying at the precinct was the best option.

''We were not satisfied that we could take the festival to the next level and fulfil our expectations, as well as those of festival-goers, beside another distinctly different event.''

The festival will stay with its new date of March 23. Tickets go on sale this Friday for $45 at www.iticket.co.nz. Mr Geddes urged people to get tickets online as numbers were limited. Depending on sales, there may be gate sales on the day for $55 per ticket.

Strong community and business support had enabled the committee to ensure the ticket price was reasonable, Mr Geddes said.

Hokonui Moonshiners' Festival is New Zealand's original boutique whisky festival, staged in Gore's arts and heritage precinct. It attracts thousands each year and allows crowds to sample beverages alongside food created by award-winning southern chefs.

- helena.dereus@odt.co.nz