Winery rock gig cancelled ‘with much regret’

The long-running Gibbston Valley Winery rock concert has been cancelled this summer due to...
The long-running Gibbston Valley Winery rock concert has been cancelled this summer due to uncertainties and issues surrounding Covid-19. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Thousands of music fans will not be rocking to the sounds of famous international acts in Queenstown this summer.

The annual Gibbston Valley Winery Summer Concert Tour, already postponed from this month until March 26, has been cancelled "with much regret", along with gigs in Taupo and the Coromandel.

Promoter Greenstone Entertainment had signed up "a fabulous international line-up" some time ago, but chief executive Amanda Calvert said border restrictions and the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant meant international artists were not willing to spend 10 days in a managed quarantine facility.

It had been hoped by March there would be some form of home quarantine acceptable to the artists, but that did not happen.

Ms Calvert’s husband, operations manager Dean Calvert, said they had organised a "bespoke hotel complex" that still met health standards, but could not get that approved.

Battling Covid-19 restrictions a year ago, the organisers hosted mainly Kiwi artists, but did bring over Australian-based band Dragon and, from the United States, New Zealander Gin Wigmore.

However, the crowd was down to about 8000, from 18,000 the year before, when Billy Idol, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Anastacia, Smash Mouth and Creedence Clearwater Revisited featured.

Mr Calvert said they were now hoping to announce, in about March, "a massive line-up" for next year’s concert, on February 11.

Ms Calvert said there was "huge anticipation and enthusiasm" from fans about this year’s concert tour, and they were saddened to cancel.

"We recognise the importance of the summer concert tour to the regions in which it visits, with over 50,000 people attending the three shows annually — not only from the millions of dollars of economic benefit it generates each year, but also the hundreds of local staff and suppliers we’re able to engage and support, and the many local groups and charities who rely on this event for fundraising.

In 2020, it was estimated 16,000 of the crowd of 18,000 came from outside the area, she said.

Mr Calvert said its crowd demographic spent two to three days in the Wakatipu, and had high disposable income.

They had drawn up a "Plan B": "We tried to pull together a really big band here that hasn’t toured since the 1990s, but in the end that just became too challenging with some of the band members overseas, and what have you."

The cancellation of this year’s tour would cost his company more than $300,000.

 - Philip Chandler

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