Waitati Music Festival pumps

Having fun in the dress-up corner at the Waitati Music Festival are (from left) Cam Lisle, Koha...
Having fun in the dress-up corner at the Waitati Music Festival are (from left) Cam Lisle, Koha Lisle (2) and John Lisle, of Waitati. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O'CONNOR
It was only 11.30am but the music was already pumping, the outfits were colourful, and the vibe was chilled out at the start of the annual Waitati Music Festival on Saturday.

"It think it's cool - that's my astute opinion," festival-goer Morgan Edwards said. "It's all good."

The festival, in Bland Park, hosted a main stage, featuring live music and DJs, and a "poet pallet" featuring more music and some stand-up poetry. There was also a "mini rave" area for some serious dancing.

About 200 earlybirds, from Waitati and further afield, were around at the start of the festival, but up to 1000 were expected to attend in the afternoon and evening.

Co-organiser Katie Peppercorn said there would be some live mural painting, and the festival's famous teapot had made a return.

Rock/dance band Panther Claw would be one of the stand-outs on the main stage on Saturday night, and she expected everyone to be on their feet for the group.

This year, the festival offered a "free conversations" stall for people who wanted some stimulating discussion or just a quick chat, and Ms Peppercorn said it was part of hopefully helping people to be more resilient, and creating a community atmosphere.

People had a five-minute slot and got to choose from a number of topics such as history or music, or they could suggest a subject of their own.

Conversationist Amber Fraser-Smith said politics and religion were taboo as they tended to get people too agitated - and sport was a no-go topic.

The festival had a strong creative bent and activities being set up in the morning included painting a vehicle, a "crochet cafe" combining coffee and a quick crochet lesson, a photo booth where people could dress up, and a set of children's games and activities.

The Waitati festival follows a vigil held in the town late last month for Star, the miniature horse whose gruesome multiple-stabbing death at the hands of an unknown assailant was still being investigated by police.

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