The rave goes on
News that the Gathering is in liquidation will surprise neither the ravers who patronised it nor the creditors who have lately been propping it up. Its desperate final fling last December clearly did not attract the numbers that could have ensured its survival, and a debt burden of $400,000-plus was too much for an event of this nature to carry. Sadly, it will be seen as one more in a line of high-profile music festivals to gain a following yet still go belly-up. Hire and security companies in particular will need some convincing before becoming involved with similar events in the future.
There is no single factor behind the internationally-recognised dance party's demise. A ticketing mix-up affected the 2000 event. The main creditors took a punt that things could be turned around last New Year but - despite costs being halved on the previous year - the event fell at least 1000 patrons short of what was required. Competition from other events in Golden Bay, Kaikoura and Canterbury played their part in their older cousin's demise. Perhaps in some ways, the Gathering simply outgrew itself.
The event will be mourned by more than the thousands of Gatherers who headed for Takaka Hill to dance the nights away over its heady six years. The Gathering brought colour, excitement and cash into the region. Despite occasional concerns about drugs or the potential for harm to people ill-prepared for bad weather, it proved to be largely trouble-free. However, a smaller "cosmic rave" is being arranged to help plug the gap at the old Canaan Downs site this New Year's Eve. The Gathering has gone, but some gatherers may yet be able to rave on.