Rival dance party for the Gathering

Evening Post, 6 November 2000

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A backlash against higher ticket prices for the popular Gathering dance party in Golden Bay has prompted a Takaka man to hold his own cheaper event over the same weekend.

Richard Lochner's plans drew criticism from the Gathering organisers, who called his event the Anti-Gathering.

The two events are expected to attract up to 20,000 people to Golden Bay and Gathering chief executive Murray Kingi said the region would not be able to cope.

"There's room for many events in the area around these dates but not at that time," he said.

Mr Lochner said there was enormous support for the Vision Party, to be held in Hamama, 20km from the Gathering's Upper Takaka site.

Both events are due to start on December 31, with the Vision Party ending on January 2 and the Gathering finishing on January 3.

Mr Lochner said he decided to hold his event because a growing number of people were fed up with paying for increasingly expensive Gathering tickets.

Tickets to this year's Gathering cost $160 for the four-day event, more than double the price sought when the event started five years ago. Mr Lochner said tickets to the Vision Party would cost $65 each. He said 2000 tickets would go on sale next week, with a further 3000 available if needed. Some 7000 of the 15,000 tickets for the Gathering have already sold.

Mr Lochner said he was not competing with the Gathering but wanted to provide an alternative for people wanting a smaller event which focused on community-based principles.

Mr Kingi said it was ludicrous to pretend the Vision Party was not competing with the Gathering. "It's happening at the same time just 20km away. It's completely and utterly in competition. There's no way it's not in competition."

Tasman district councillor Paul Sangster praised the Vision Party for offering people a cheaper alternative to the Gathering. - NZPA

Nelson Mail, 6 November 2000

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