The Gathering 98/99
The Gathering 98/99 was hot hot hot - and very dusty. The sun blazed down pretty much the whole time, and 8,000 Gatherers came to party with us - pretty much the same number as the previous year.
Halfway through 1998, Grant, Jose and Mel decided that organising two Gatherings was probably enough, so they resigned from their roles in the core crew (although they stayed on as advisors), and Tim also moved out of his core role and made recycling his passion. The three main organisers for The Gathering 98/99 were Murray Kingi, Alison Green and Greg Shaw.
For the first time we had a radio station on-site - Gathering FM - hosted by an ever-changing lineup of DJs fresh from the various zones, and we sorted out our biggest problem - the traffic jams - by opening the gates a full day before the party started, so that we could stagger the incoming traffic over 24 hours instead of 3.
We also released the first Gathering CD in 98/99, with the help of Kog Transmissions and Universal Music, and our royalty payments to the featured musicians was the most generous of any New Zealand music CD, ever.
In 98/99 for the first time we also had a helicopter on standby in case of emergencies (plus two doctors in addition to the Red Cross medical team), and a second chopper that ferried Gatherers onto the site from Motueka, and gave sightseeing tours over the site itself.
The main stage in Trance was moved to the far end of the zone for 98/99, and as Murray began the Last Trance, dozens of photographers appeared out of nowhere to take pictures of all of us crazy people dancing under the now-traditional spray from the water tanker. 98/99 became the year of the fabulous crowd pictures, dancing up a dust storm during the final hour of the party.
The media coverage before the party was extensive in comparison with the first two years, and it continued after the party was over. We scored quite a coup by having three full colour full-page feature writeups of the Gathering in major newspapers in early January 1999 - The Nelson Mail, the Christchurch Press and the New Zealand Herald. Grant had laid the groundwork very well for Ali to continue building the publicity and media coverage in 98/99.
In this section:
DJ, and Live act timetables for each zone, VJ and performer lists, and a yet-to-be-completed rundown of the technical equipment (sound, lighting and visuals) for each zone.
Tons of media interest beforehand, including (ahem) featured profiles of the three main organisers in the Nelson Mail, and loads afterwards, too.
The CD was reviewed very positively and the local press used The Gathering as a shining example of how alcohol = trouble, whereas 8,000 ravers up a hill = a bloody good (and peaceful) time. Choice!
A gorgeous year for artwork, with a totally co-ordinated look designed by Fi Jack, and for the first time a Gathering booklet, full of all the info a Gatherer could possibly need.
We doubled the size of the camping area, introduced a new zone deep in the heart of the beech forest - Jazz/Classical with walk-in movies at night - shifted Tribal along a bit, set up helicopter landing pads... all kinds of new things happened that year - check out the map of The Gathering 98/99 site for more info.
Those famous crowd photos, the sun, the dust, the beautiful people, and even a couple of aerial shots of the setup.
Salmonella Dub (as always) played at TheG, and this year took the opportunity to do a bit of filming around the Trance and Drum&Bass zones. They incorporated this into their video for For The Love Of It. We've got it, and some Pitch Black footage which includes a bit of their Gathering set.
Do you have any video or film you can add to our collection?
How was it for you? Did you get down and dusty, or did you stay cool? Were you pleased with the (comparative lack of) traffic jams in 98/99? And how was your Last Trance? Are you in any of the photos?