The Gathering is the closest New Zealanders get to experiencing the 'getting away and out of it' vibe of England's Glastonbury festival and the sheer intensity of 24 to 48-hour dance events like Tribal Gathering.
Crowds at The Gathering, held near Takaka at the top of the South Island, have virtually doubled each successive year, with over 8,000 people attending last year's event. The number of music zones has also been increased from six to seven, with the brand new jazz/classical/world stage joining the trance/techno, dub/hiphop/drum & bass/roots, happy hardcore/industrial/hardbag, house/funk/garage, ambient/lounge and tribal areas.
The 1998/'99 line-up will reflect not just New Zealand's deep, wide-ranging wealth of DJ talent but also the growing number of live dance music acts. Srangely, DJs had yet to be confirmed by the end of November, but playing live will be Salmonella Dub, Pitch Black, Unit 23, Mechanism, FreQ, epsilon blue and Baitercell, amongst others. The overseas contingent will once again be led by Germany's Non Place Urban Field, while David Harrow (James Hardway, Technova) will jam with Salmonella Dub. Drum & Bass DJ Undercover Agent (Splash, Juice) will fly in from London, while Perth-based Animal Intelligence will also make the trip this year.
The Gathering is branching out even further with the December release of a CD compiled by Auckland's Kog Transmissions and distributed by Universal. It'll feature the cream of New Zealand's electronic talents, including Pitch Black, Micronism, epsilon blue, Trigger X, The Nomad, Unit 23 and many others, all of whom have played The Gathering before.