Dance party fan not taking any chances

Nelson Mail, 29 December 2000

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Like many veterans of last year's Gathering Manjula Kumar of Motueka will be packing a raincoat when she goes this year.

"What I neded last year was a jacket," she says, thoughtfully, as she survery the gear to go in the backpack, destined for the enormous dance festival, relocated this year to Cobb Valley Rd, Upper Takaka.

Along with thousands of others, the 18-year-old university student ended up shivering and wet to the skin, when heavy rain marred the enormous dance festival on Takaka Hill last New Year.

I'm better organised this year," she says. She's only bringing food for breakfast, and buying eveything else, to save her making the trek back to the campsite 1.5km from the main dance zones.

Last year I lived on fruit smoothies," she says.

Into the pack goes the tent, the sleeping bag, the cellphone (to locate friends), shiny dance clothes, and the essential sunblock - "Or you'll come back looking like a lobster."

Tomorrow she'll travel to the Gathering site with her friend, her friend's brother, and her friend's brother's friend. They hope to meet up with others travelling from Dunedin and Queenstown.

She's been to lots of dance parties and concerts, and prefers an alcohol-free atmosphere, because people are more "humane". "Alcohol really promotes violence and stupidity," she says.

Manjula bought her ticket in October, fearful of missing out. It's only the second time she's been to the Gathering and she's looking forward to a drier experience this time.

"It's not going to rain," she says, confidently. "It better not."

Other popular Gathering gear includes the compulsory water bottle, anything that glows under ultra-violet lights (including fluorescent marker pens), insect repellent (apparently the mosquitoes are prolific at the new site) and light sticks.


Essential Gathering gear recommended by the event's organisers:

  • Gathering ticket
  • sunblock and sunhat
  • warm clothing
  • solid footwear
  • wet weather gear
  • food, water and water containers
  • bowls, plates, utensils
  • camping gear (no gas stoves or fires)
  • torch (no candles)
  • sleeping bag
  • prescription medicine
  • money
  • condoms
  • first aid kit

Jane O'Loughlin, Nelson Mail, 29 December 2000

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