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Festival a success

Despite the rain, the Wairarapa Music in the Country festival went ahead over the weekend, rewarding festivalgoers with three days of music, camping and lights.

The lineup of 13 acts on the Tauherenikau Racecourse stage included Jackie Bristow, Barry Saunders and Kevin Greaves. Attendees didn’t let the wet weather get them down after the event was cancelled last year due to covid restrictions.

Festival organiser Matthew Sherry said the weekend was “just incredible”.

“We’re over the moon. We were one of the only festivals in New Zealand not to cancel and so many came, we were very, very lucky with the grandstand.”

Sherry said a crowd of about 1500 people attended.

“Considering the conditions, it’s quite phenomenal and goes to show the calibre of the artists.

“People wanted to go to a good show and they got a good show. So we’re very very happy.

“They showed up, wandered over in the rain and just had an absolute ball.”

Throughout the weekend, people could be seen dancing in the rain in ponchos, raincoats and even covered in fairy lights.

Sherry said a personal highlight was the Dolly Parton Experience, which wrapped up the night on Saturday.

“When she came on not one person left, they were all up dancing. It was still raining and they were up on the grass dancing.”

The festival had rebranded to The Wairarapa Music in the Country Festival to allow for a greater range of artists while maintaining a country base. Sherry said the wider appeal was obviously working as was reflected in the presales and they were looking forwards to the next one.

“This festival is really getting noticed. We were expecting 5000 people if it hadn’t rained, the presales were so good.”

“We’re back on January 5-7 next year, and we’ve already got artists lined up.

“It’ll be bigger and better – so watch this space.”

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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