Gathering a success

Nelson Mail 2 January 1999

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A cloud of dust hung over the Canaan Road today as more than 8000 people left the remote Gathering site at the end of the 48-hour dance party.

Alpha Security operations controller Joe Bartle said the final evening of the party was quiet, with no incidents reported and no one taken off the site due to injury. He said a lot of traffic would come off the Takaka Hill today as partygoers met the 6pm deadline for vacating the site.

Co-organiser Greg Shaw said he felt confident about the success of the party. He said the event had broken even financially, but he would wait until all the partygoers got off site before making a final statement. He said crew would still be based at the site for the next week or so packing up. However, those who attended praised the event.

"It's been amazing. Where else can you go and get 100 smiles against one frown?" said David Oxenbridge of Christchurch.

"It's a combination of all the karma everyone brings; it is a celebration of participation," said Wellington's Darren Dowdall.

The food stallholders were also enthusiastic of the event. Neil Watkinson of Nelson's Comfort Foods said that on the whole the market had been full all the time - "except for New Year when everyone left for half and hour then clawed their way back in asking for food".

Mr Shaw said a "real cross section of society" attended this year's party.

"The Gathering used to be seen as a hippy or alternative event, but not any longer," said Mr Shaw. "There are some older people here, but a lot of younger ones as well - basically the age group is broader. But I don't think you could ever classify The Gathering as mainstream, as it is so special and different."

Helen Murdoch, Nelson Mail, 2 January 1999

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