Revellers on their way to Gathering

Nelson Mail - 29 December 1999

Preparations for The Gathering are well under way, with organisers expecting more than half of the 8,500 people expected at the New Year dance party to arrive tomorrow.

Spokeswoman Alison Green said most of the infrastructure, such as toilets, water, and camping facilities had already been set up at the site at Canaan Downs, Takaka Hill, in anticipation of the arrival of the first partygoers at noon tomorrow. Work was also well under way in the six dance zones, with technical and artistic crews setting up sound, lighting and decorations.

Ms Green said security at the site would be extremely efficient, to catch people using fake tickets or trying to sneak in. There would be security along the access road and around the perimeter of the party site. Those without approved access to the party would not only be asked to leave the area, but would be bused away, she said.

"Those thinking they can sneak in think that by themselves they aren't a problem, but if there was an extra 1000 people that we did not have facilities for, then there would be a problem," she said.

She urged people to bring lots of warm clothing due to the "serious alpine conditions" at Canaan Downs at night. "I would advise people to double whatever plans they have made for warm clothing, as these are very unforgiving conditions."

Local camping grounds have started noticing the arrival of people headed for The Gathering. Mapua Leisure Park office manager Gabrielle Dixson said about 100 people had arrived there en route to The Gathering. However, Fearsons Bush camping ground manager Michael Mills said he had not noticed a great number of people arriving to stay before The Gathering.

"They usually tear through Motueka on their way up but stay a few days afterwards," he said.

Kirsten Newman, Nelson Mail, 29 December 1999

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