The Gathering 97/98
Year two - and The Gathering had grown enormously in organisation and sophistication. The weather was beautiful (although we'd had snow up on site a few days after Christmas!) and twice as many Gatherers as in 96/97 came along to party.
The Gathering 97/98 was the year we put the DJ tower in the centre of the Trance zone - which made life pretty interesting at midnight as we tried to keep people off the scaffolding (they were in danger of jogging the needle on the record - a heinous crime!)
The lilies made their first appearance in the very sumptuous and luxurious House tent, Ra's psychedelic masks adorned the Trance zone, and the Drum&Bass zone became a jungle, complete with primitive carvings and giant tusks. The Acoustic Ambience zone of 96/97 became the Tribal zone, and the drums never stopped beating.
The Star Gate (aka the Techno Totem) tripled in size from the first year and became an incredible golden gateway at night. Murray played the infamous "Scottish Song" during the Last Trance, Hamish brought the water tanker over and proceed to spray us all liberally with cooling water as we danced up a storm, and an amazing time was had by all.
97/98 was also the year of The Gathering Documentary, which in addition to featuring the Gatherers themselves, was complete with behind-the-scenes footage of the setup, interviews with crew, locals, and even with the very understanding and switched-on local police. It's quite good actually - and we're incredibly thankful that we made it and preserved for ever the wonderousness that is The Gathering.
The media coverage was really quite impressive, both before and after the event, and we even converted a reporter from the Nelson Mail by having her stay with us on-site for the entire party. It was pretty cool watching her attitude change during those two or three days.
The core organisers for The Gathering 97/98 were Grant Smithies, Jose Cachemaille, Mel Rutherford-Dower, Murray Kingi and Tim Owens.
Grant and Jose caused an outcry early in the new year by suggesting that we might have to find a new site, due to the traffic jams caused by the single-track access road to Canaan Downs - but Sergeant Jim Burrows of Motueka police caused an ever bigger outcry when he said he hoped to see the venue changed, "preferably to somewhere in the North Island". Motueka and the surrounding region got firmly behind The Gathering staying where it was - and so it did. Phew!
In this section:
Full DJ and Live Act timetables for each zone, plus complete DJ, Live Act and VJ lists - and half a perfomer timetable. Full technical specifications (sound, lighting, visuals) for each zone.
Lots of positive coverage before the event, and heaps afterwards too, including a large Nelson Mail feature article and pages & pages of portraits of Gatherers in Pavement magazine.
Some inaccurate and over-dramatic reporting went on, but the coverage was mostly about how much the local area wanted us to continue the party on the hill. Excellent!
In this section you'll find scans of a couple of crew passes (we'd like more! Do you have any you could scan for the site?), the flyer, poster, and stickers - but no ticket yet. Do you have one?
The Gathering 97/98 site map was based on an aerial photo, which was kinda cool. Most things were in the same place as the previous year, except for Hardcore and House, which swapped places. For the first time we identified elements such as the fire pit, the Techno Totem (Star Gate) and the various food, crew and general store tents.
Some lovely photos in this collection. Do you have more you'd like to share with us?
We have quite a bit of video and film footage of The Gathering 97/98 because that was the year of the first Gathering documentary. Do you have any you can add to our collection?
The second Gathering - and twice as many of you came to party with us. If you were a newbie, what was your first G like? If you were already an old hand, did you like the direction in which we were going? How was the music, the camping, the decorations, (and the portaloos)?
If you crewed that year, do you have stories of your experiences? And let's not forget the documentary - were you in it?