Live summer action - The Gathering

Tearaway, December 1997

From midday on December 31 until midday on January 2, Takaka Hill (near Nelson) will reverberate to the sound of five stages of 'electronic music and associated dance culture' - pounding trance, drum'n'bass, hip hop, dub and house. There will also be an on-site cinema, live theatre, stunning visuals, huge outdoor screens and live performances from New Zealand's top dance acts.

Tickets cost $51, and will almost definitely sell out. The organisers have limited numbers to 8,000 'for safety and the environment'. And if you're travelling from the North Island, get busy on ferry tickets, because these are selling out too.

Last year over 6,000 people camped out for 48 hours of solid mayhem. It takes some organisation to have continuous fun for this long. "It's two days of continuous music and action," said organiser Grant Smithies. "It's a different ball game from a one night dance party where you go home. You have to go there prepared for that and be self-contained and well-organised. Go with mates and look out for each other. It's possible to be lonely and isolated within a crowd."

Make sure you take a sun hat and sun block and good shoes, as the site can be quite uneven. "I recommend people bring water, although there will be tankers there, " Grant said. "Take luscious things you like to eat. There's 20 cafes on site but that can get expensive. A good sleeping bag. Toilet paper. Potentially a raincoat although it's not likely to rain. Don't bring a pet. There's no dogs allowed."

Don't make the mistake of thinking this is just a heap of drunk people in a field. There's a strictly no-alcohol policy. "The no-alcohol policy preserves the vibe of the place. It's a celebration of dance culture. Alcohol gts in the way of this, in my experience, and there's a more inclusive, less aggressive vibe without it."

Tearaway, December 1997

Page last updated: