If you believe the hype, then The Gathering is currently rating high at #3 on the international dance community's unofficial 'Preferred Place To Be For The Big Y2K'. However, organisers are aiming for the event to be at #1 by this time next year, and if the reaction to last year's party is anything to go by, they may just get their wish.
Staged between midday Dec 31 and midday Jan 2 at the magical Canaan Downs (2500 feet above sea level, near the top of the South Island), The Gathering is now into its third year. Attendances have doubled each year since the Entrain crew - predecessors of The Gathering - first began hosting the New Year's Eve dance parties in the Nelson region, back in the early '90s. All 8000 tickets sold out in advance of last year's party, and in order to remain at the same site with minimal adverse impact on the environment, The Gathering organisers have decided to limit this year's ticket numbers to 10,000. Once again, there will be no gate sales.
To give you an idea of the scope of The Gathering, last year's event cost over a third of a million dollars to produce. Being on a sheep farm in the middle of nowhere high up on Takaka Hill, all materials, supplies, and personnel had to be carted or flown onto the site. It took a week to set up, and a week to pack down.
This year it's going to be bigger.
A core production crew of more than two hundred multi-talented artists, technicians and organisers will be co-ordinating over one hundred DJs and around the same number of dancers, jugglers, stilt walkers and other such performers; as well as a gaggle of performance artists and groups, a team of twenty or so VJs, and at least forty live acts, all operating within the realms of seven distinct dance zones.
House, techno, trance, funk, roots, dub, jungle, hardcore, industrial, ambient, tribal, even jazz, lounge, and classical - The Gathering has it in spades.
If you're thinking about heading along, then you need to make plans NOW. Tickets will almost certainly sell out prior to the gig, and Cook Strait ferry passes (for those in the North Island) will be at a premium.
For the most up-to-date information and everything you need to know about The Gathering, log on to the website at www.gathering.co.nz
Remember: The Gathering is a festival of participation. Your enjoyment ensures its success. Be nice humans.