Happy crowd keeps dancing
A much smaller crowd of up to 6000 danced and tranced the New Year in at the Gathering dance party near Upper Takaka.
"It was a good night on site," Gathering marketing manager Danny O'Donnell said. "No stress, no troubles, everyone's pretty happy," he said.
The ambulance service took a 22-year-old Palmerston North man to hospital with burns to his left hand, and 29-year-old Christchurch woman was evacuated with a broken ankle, a St John spokesman said.
Mr O'Donnell said there were between 5000 and 6000 people at the party last night. Although this is about half the number who attended last year, Mr O'Donnell said more were expected to see top international acts who would play on the remaining two nights of the festival.
Many of the camping sites remained empty today.
"We're pretty happy with the weather so far," Mr O'Donnell said. "More of this (sunshine) would be nice."
Mr O'Donnell said he gave this year's event a nine out of 10. It compared with previous years in quality, and he said the artistic sculptures and structures surrounding the various dance zones were "amazing".
The Gathering site is divided into several zones, each with its own type of music and atmosphere, including a trance zone, house music zone, and a drum- and-bass zone. Most people gathered in the trance zone to see in the New Year, where multi- media act Pitch Black provided electronic music with a throbbing beat. Their act was followed by fireworks and fire dancers, enthralling the crowd of happy, dancing people.
There was a wide range of people there, and many families with young children. Glow sticks were popular - almost every dancer had some sort of fluorescent, glowing light. Glow-in-the-dark wristwatches, rings, backpacks and false teeth were popular items for sale at the event.
Gatherers danced as demons, pixies, space men and in other costumes to see in the New Year. There was no official countdown, but most people seemed aware of when New Year came in, and kept on dancing.
Caption: Photo PATRICK HAMILTON 20135 SMART PHONES: Daniel Jones of Auckland (left), Stuart Mitchell of Rotorua and Stephanie Hill of Auckland kept in touch using their quirky shoe phones.