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Sold out in record time

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

After ten years of local wine and food, the popular Gladstone festival has sold out months earlier than usual.

Tickets for the 11th Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival sold its 2000 tickets in record time of just 14 days. The March 2017 event will have entertainment from returning Wellington bands The Relatives, Steve Carlin and Irish band The Shenanigans. Food and wine will be offered from the 17 wineries and popular restaurants from across the region.

Liz Pollock, event manager, said tickets always sell out before the day but not this early.

“This is the first time, we usually are sold out by mid-February,” she said.

“It’s a really good day out in the Wairarapa region, and now people have made it a summer event on the calendars.”

The festival had great support from locals, with a large following from Wellington with this year more than ever, she said.

The Gladstone Vineyard tent at this years' Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival.
The Gladstone Vineyard tent at this years’ Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival.

From a local perspective, it is great for the local economy and the region. This year, more groups from across the country are making their way to the region for the weekend, including a group of 50 from Auckland, people from Taupo, Queenstown and even London.

The sell-out event is a good indication of how well established the event has become as one of the smallest festivals in the country.

Everyone involved in the organising of the festival knew it would get to this stage, but were just blown away by the early sell out, she said.

“Part of the charm is it’s a small intimate setting.”

Barbara Hyde, Destination Wairarapa marketing manager, said its success is dedicated to its local following from the region and Wellington.

“It’s been really successful from the beginning, and has certainly built up over the years,” she said.

“[But] it won’t be as big as Toast Martinborough, and doesn’t want to be.”

People like this small scale local festival, it’s an absolute Wairarapa highlight.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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