Three-day festival has 43 bands

WaikeriFest organiser Andy Parsons, of Dunedin, tests out part of the stream-side location for...
WaikeriFest organiser Andy Parsons, of Dunedin, tests out part of the stream-side location for the festival. Photo by Leith Huffadine.
For three days in January, 43 New Zealand bands will descend upon a quiet, leafy Central Otago valley. Early-bird tickets for WaikeriFest have sold out, and about 500 people are expected to attend, organisers say.

The line up includes bands such as the Fu King, 2013 national Battle of the Bands winner; X Factor NZ competitor Tom Batchelor's the River Jesters; and the Killer Seas, who have opened for the Doobie Brothers and Elvis Costello.

Organiser Andy Parsons, of Dunedin, said the festival was set to be spectacular.

''When I set about booking the bands I expected most bigger, more professional bands to say it was too far away and they would be too busy.

''[I'm] overwhelmed by the reaction; it's snowballed into a huge event ... It seems like the dream bloody gig.''

Mr Parsons (26), a professional musician, said he had been playing guitar for 19 years, and performed in two bands, and taught guitar.

The idea for WaikeriFest began earlier this year, after several bands played at a joint birthday party for his family at their home in the Waikerikeri Valley, near Alexandra.

''We had about 70 people attend and everyone raved about how they had such a good time and felt they would be willing to pay for something like that.''

He eventually began planning with fellow organiser Dylan Rasburn.

Mr Parsons was aware of other festivals near Wanaka and Queenstown, such as Rippon and Rhythm and Alps. However, comparing his event to them would be like ''bananas and apples''.

To be held on private property, WaikeriFest was family-friendly, with three days of music, two nights of camping, and bring-your-own alcohol.

Metal, acoustic folk, reggae, blues, rock 'n' roll, and indie music would all feature.

The festival would be similar to, and fill a gap left by the Catlins River Festival, which would not be happening next year, Mr Parsons said.

More information would be available on the festival website closer to the time, including help with transport, rules during the event, and ticket sales.

leith.huffadine@odt.co.nz

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