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Turnout gives organisers the blues
Doubts have again been raised
about the future of the Blues,
Brews and BBQs festival in
Hawke s Bay, with a bigger crowd
needed to ensure the event s sur-
vival if it does return next year.
The festival licence holder, the
Stortford Lodge Rotary Club, is
due to meet next month to decide
the event s future once final
figures have been tallied.
Despite the fine weather, only
1400 people attended this year s
event on January 19 in the Wai-
koko Gardens at the A & P
Showgrounds in Hastings. The
event had capacity for 3000.
Organiser Kevin Murphy said
the light crowd numbers meant
the event would struggle to break
Though numbers were better
last year, the event was still
overcoming a $30,000 loss in 2011
which cleared out the account
when the event was washed out.
Rotary Club spokesman Brian
Burroughs was slightly more
Whilst the crowd this year was
less than we would have liked, we
expect to be in and around a
break-even position, he said.
He said the rotary club wanted
the event to continue so it could
help fund community work.
But next month s meeting
would need to consider all options.
There is a possibility that the
event may not run next year.
Whether it can operate in a differ-
ent format will also be con-
sidered, he said.
The washout in 2011 was the
only time the event had been can-
celled in its 10-year history.
Serious doubts were raised
about the event back then, before
it was moved to the smaller gar-
den setting last year.
Mr Murphy said it would have
been great to attract a crowd
closer to 2000, and lamented the
lack of support from the public.
We did everything right, and
the weather was good, he said.
It s so hard to get people
motivated to turn up.
The Blues, Brews and BBQs
festival in Mt Maunganui had not
been held for the past two years.
Everyone s in the same boat.
It s a hard market out there at
present, Mr Murphy said.
Some people had complained
they did not recognise many of the
bands at this year s festival, head-
lined by 80s pop/rocker Rikki Mor-
ris and his band, The Situation.
But Mr Murphy said budget con-
straints made it impossible to
secure bigger names.
We have never had the budget
for higher profile bands -- we pay
less for six bands than what we
would pay for one band like Op
shop, he said.
[It s] more about enjoying the
whole festival with aspects of food,
drinks, music and having a great
time with friends, he said.
On a hopeful note, Mr Murphy
said there might be a potential
backer for the festival.
We need to find out if this can
offer the Rotary club some secur-
ity, Mr Murphy said.
A final decision on the festival s
future was not expected for two
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