Half-price fes­ti­val tick­ets for Coast­ers

The Press - - News - SAM STRONG

West Coast­ers are be­ing of­fered half-price tick­ets to the next Hok­i­tika Wild­foods Fes­ti­val in an ef­fort to bring lo­cals back to the event.

The West­land District Coun­cil wants to ‘‘reen­gage lo­cals with the fes­ti­val’’ by giv­ing 50 per cent dis­counts to the res­i­dents of the Buller, Grey and West­land dis­tricts.

Wild­foods Ad­vi­sory Group chair­man Mike Keenan said the price re­duc­tion would give West Coast­ers more in­cen­tive to in­dulge their senses when the food ex­trav­a­ganza re­turned to Hok­i­tika’s Cass Square for the 29th time on March 10, 2018.

‘‘The price for tick­ets over the past three to five years had gone up. It’s a lo­cal event and we thought that if you lose the sup­port of the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially the West Coast­ers, you vir­tu­ally haven’t got an event as such,’’ he said.

Keenan said the group also wanted to sup­port stall­hold­ers and rec­om­mended a spe­cial price be given to ‘‘lo­cal com­mu­nity stall­hold­ers’’.

‘‘The fes­ti­val is a good com­mu­nity event and we want to make sure it has longevity.’’

The num­ber of peo­ple at the

2017 fes­ti­val was the low­est since

2013, at 5888, while 1176 peo­ple at­tended the af­ter­party. A coun­cil re­port sug­gested ad­verse weather con­di­tions on the day caused a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in gate sales, but said the fes­ti­val had turned a profit in the past two years.

A for­mer or­gan­iser of the event for 21 years, Keenan said he hoped the price re­duc­tion would give West Coast­ers more money to play with when it came to try­ing the ex­trav­a­gant and bizarre foods.

‘‘If they’ve paid too much for get­ting in, they’ll spend less,’’ he said. ‘‘The key re­ally is to make the stall­hold­ers have a suc­cess­ful day.’’

Wild­foods man­ager Sarah Brown said of­fer­ing a dis­count was ‘‘our way of demon­strat­ing that we con­sider the fes­ti­val to be by lo­cals, for lo­cals’’.

Dis­counted adult and se­nior tick­ets will cost $20 each, while chil­dren aged 5 to 17 will cost $5, and a fam­ily pass is $40.

Some early-bird tick­ets are avail­able on­line now be­fore gen­eral ad­mis­sion tick­ets go on sale from Jan­uary 10.

Hok­i­tika’s 29th Wild­foods Fes­ti­val is sched­uled for March 10, 2018.

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