If you don't already have a ticket, tough luck buddy - you're missing the party.
The Gathering is 48 hours of pure dancing pleasure, on top of Takaka Hill, near Nelson. The first Gathering attracted about 4000 peope. We had the time of our lives, told all our friends, and the next two Gs saw 8000 party people going off as the clock ticked over. This year a first wave of 6000 tickets sold out in just five weeks, with most of the 2000 second wave tickets selling within days of release. There are no gate sales.
All you crafty kids planning on sneaking your way in had better watch out too. For a start, everyone else paid, and for another thing there's water (150,000 litres of drinking water) and portaloos (120 of tem) to consider - those beautiful G-people need to know how many partiers they're catering for. Besides, after four years of practise the site is ultra-secure: if you get caught you get 'removed', and seeing in the New Year all alone on the side of a road, or down Harwood's Hole, just isn't fun.
Guiding us through the party with 90-minute sets will be 130 damn fine DJs and 50 live music acts, selected from four times as many submissions as there were last year. Each of the five dance zones has 32 slots available, with 180 application mix tapes received apiece for the Trance/Techno and Drum'n'Bass zones.
This year we get to run between the wide-open space of the Trance/Techno playground; the silky, bouncy white room that is House; the loud and sweaty Hardcore/Industrial tent (hopefully still with maze); and the thumping Drum'n'Bass zone, losing its smoky old camo-tent to the sun and stars this year. For all your chill-out needs, the Ambient and Classical/Jazz worlds collide in the forest clearing, with the old ambient crater hosting the G movie theatre, both areas opening on December 30 and running for 72 hours.
Power comes from six large generators and ten small ones, with about 10km of cable linking the lights, sound systems, video screens and generators. As for the sounds, expect to be pounded with 80K in Trance/Techno. Drum'n'Bass gets 40K, with 35K oontzing the House tent and 15K in Hardcore. Ambient is crystal clear with 18K while Tribal remains all-acoustic - bring a drum and try not to bruise your hands.
There will be 100 performers, 20-something VJs and 30 artists conspiring to make The Gathering the visual madhose we all love. Just don't fall into the giant fire pit, with 200+ fire performers doing their thing at 00:00:00. There's also a couple of bouncy castles (for actual kids only), three EFTPOS terminals (with queues...), over 40 food stalls, showers, security lock-up, and Gathering 100.2 FM, so you can keep the beats coming to your campsite.
As usual, Red Cross staff and doctors are on site, with ambulances, fire engines and an emergency helicopter on standby. Plain-clothed police may or may not be present, but the men in blue will certainly be tuned into the security channel. The SHE tent will sort you out if you're freaking out, and security people and crew, RTs at the ready, will look out for you too.
Everyone takes care of each other at The Gathering. Take care of yourself too: read the booklet (get it where you got your ticket) and check out the website (www.gathering.co.nz) for absolutely everything you need to know. See you there.
Surrounded by 8000 people, you wanna be able to find your friends (and your tent) when you need them. Gatherers from the capital should keep an eye out for the Little Wellington campsite - just look for the bucket fountain and listen to Active for details. Other cities are encouraged to do the same, or invent your own G-town and go crazy on the decorations. There's a whole lot of people coming from all over the world, so if you hear some out-there accents go and make a friend. In a recent TV appearance, Quentin Tarantino claimed to be a regular and said he was coming this time too - if you've got proof, let us know.
Noughty party hype
Loop DJ of the Year has been busy doing loops for the Tatou website, a track for The Gathering compilation and sorting out his Arc production company for the DJ Q gig in the capital. For NYE he's going for a tech-house trifecta: The Te Papa party in Wellington, a morning slot at Tatou, then whizzing down to Takaka Hill for a slot at The Gathering on 1 January.
Currently working on material for their next album due out in April, Michael Hodgson and Paddy Free are working on solo projects in the next few months. Paddy is playing a "straighter dance set than normal" at The Gathering followed by a jaunt supporting Salmonella Dub on their national tour. Michael Hodgson is doing what he loves best: a multi-media extravaganza at Auckland's This Is It millennium event on NYE. [And then down to The Gathering to play a set in Ambient under the name of Misled Convoy - WebEd]
The man much in demand with his recent single "Reverse Resistance" starts off with a one-hour 5pm set at the Council-sponsored Aotea Square gig. Bill then hopes to catch the next available flight to Nelson for a slot at The Gathering on the 31st. Gigs in the New Year include the Big Day Out.
The almighty Kog Transmissions crew know their funky grooves. Pat Hammond and Chris Chetland started up Baitercell in 1994 and have developed through most styles of electronic music now veering towards house. Along with Kog buddies Chumbwa and Scattergram, Baitercell hope to turn a few heads with a live performance at The Gathering.