Festival approach 'wait and see'

A "wait and see" attitude may be adopted by the Waitaki District Council over the future of the Oamaru wine and food festival.

The event, held in February for the past 13 years, is in jeopardy because the organising committee, the Whitestone Waitaki Cultural Group, has resigned en masse.

Group chairman Simon Berry told the council in a submission on Thursday the festival had grown so big it had become extremely hard to organise. Last year's event with pop singer Gin Wigmore, attracted 5000 people. It was costing about $40,000 to run and organisers had to meet increasing safety, health, liquor and other regulations.

The group had handed the future of the festival to the Waitaki Development Board and council. Whether it would be held next year would depend on whether another group took it up, Mr Berry said.

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton suggested it may be a case of "wait and see" if another private or commercial group took over the festival.

Cr Gus Young suggested the council had made life too hard for the organisers (through regulations), but Mr Familton rejected that. The council had helped in many ways, he said.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz


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