Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines: Ticketholders demand answers, petition launched to cancel festival

Ticketholders are demanding answers and a firm plan from Rhythm and Vines organisers with only one month to go until the festival.

Concertgoers have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the team behind the famous Kiwi New Years’ festival, asking for both a confirmed lineup and an indication when they will know if the festival will go ahead.

Ticketholders in the comments slammed the festival’s communication in the event’s latest post on social media calling for volunteers.

“Can you at least release the lineup,” a ticketholder asked.

“A post about what’s happening would be nicer,” shared another.

Another angry ticket holder slammed the lack of transparency: “Can you at least release the lineup, every other festival for New Years has months ago and you seem to think [sic] rnv is one of a kind.” They went on to note they felt the communication from R&V was not acceptable.

A post shared by Rhythm and Vines (@rhythmandvines)

Others stressed it was essential ticketholders knew whether the festival was definitely going ahead so they could sort accommodation and travel plans.

When the Herald reached out to the publicist for R&V last week they were told a decision was imminent, and they were awaiting the Government’s decision around alert levels and border reopenings.

When asked by Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan on November 17 if Gisborne should prepare for Rhythm and Vines not to go ahead if they remained in red level, Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins said it could be a possibility – “unless they get their vaccination rates up much faster than they are at the moment”.

Currently in the Tairāwhiti DHB 74 per cent of residents have received both doses of the vaccine, while 85.4 per cent have had their first dose.

Festival organisers declined to respond to Hipkins’ comments when contacted last week.

In a petition launched by concerned Gisbourne residents, residents called for the government to can the festival “as it will be putting locals in danger of the Covid-19 and Delta spread” in the community.

And while concertgoers are fired up in the comments section, Gisborne locals have formed a petition to try and stop the music festival from going ahead at all.

The petition has gained more than 2000 signatures at the time of writing, and called on the Government to “protect our locals”.

Those who have signed the online petition so far say they want to keep the risk the Delta variant poses to the area low.

The Herald reached out to R&Vs promoter again today, asking for a deadline around plans and announcements for desperate ticket holders.

In response, a spokesperson said: “Rhythm and Vines are working collaboratively and closely with the Gisborne community, key stakeholders and local authorities and expect to provide an update on plans in due course.”

The last update on social media for ticketholders was posted on November 5.

“The Rhythm and Vines team are 100 per cent focused on delivering the event this New Year as planned.

“Our team have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that should we be given the green light (or orange?), that the festival teams are ready to go on rolling out the safest New Year event as possible,” part of the post read.

Co-founder Hamish Pinkham went on radio station Newstalk ZB on November 5 to clarify his team is ready to go again this summer, but was waiting on the Government.

“We’re ready to go, tickets are sold, bands are booked, the venue is looking fantastic,” he told host Heather du Plessis-Allan.

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