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The three-day Rhythm & Alps music festival starts today, going boldly into 2022 where most similar festivals in the country dare not to tread because of challenging terrain navigating the traffic light system, vaccine passports and the risk of community spread of Covid-19.
Despite that, Rhythm & Alps is forging ahead and is the first live-music event to take place post-lockdown amid loosening of borders in New Zealand.
That is something of which the festival’s director and founder Alex Turnbull said he was proud.
"It’s amazing. It feels really good.
"We’re representing the other festivals in the country and we’re very happy with that."
Covid-19 put paid to other festivals including the event’s North Island sister festival Rhythm & Vines but life in the South Island at Orange under the traffic light system means the event can go ahead.
There is one condition - all attendees have to be vaccinated.
Mr Turnbull said with the event came great responsibility.
No vaccine pass meant no entry and other measures included a requirement for attendees to link their tickets, vaccine passport and ID online to prevent fraudulent activity such as using another person’s pass.
"Your ticket has to match the vaccine pass name and you also have to show photo ID, so it’s a pretty foolproof system really."
That has not put off the punters. The festival officially sold out yesterday and more than 10,000 people are converging on the Cardrona Valley near Wanaka as they have done every year since 2013 to turn rural farmland into a tent city.
Resource consent was for 10,000 ticketed people on site each day and 6300 campers but more than 27,000 people were expected to pass through across the three days, Mr Turnbull said.
"We’re again flying New Zealand’s biggest flag in the Cardrona Valley and that’s pretty cool."
Should Covid-19 make an appearance, contact tracing was built into the wristbands ticket holders wear and use to buy food and drink.
This year’s line-up differs from previous years in the fact there are no international headliners.
Instead, it is featuring all-Kiwi acts such as L.A.B and Kora and many more performing on multiple stages across all three days .
It is expected this year’s event will inject up to $10 million into the wider Wanaka community which has suffered from a lack of visitors throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.