THE figures are fast stacking up for Gisborne to host its biggest New Year’s Eve party yet.
The multimillion-dollar five-day event has extended its R&V capacity to 32,000 people this year and the target looks set to be reached.
As of yesterday more than 23,000 R&V tickets had been sold and, with more than a month to “rock up” before “showtime”, everything is running smoothly and to plan, says BW and R&V events organiser Toby Burrows.
“We have only a few hundred BW campground spaces left and the R&V campsite is also filling fast.”
The capacity of the five BW campsites is 14,250. So far, 13,700 people have secured BW camping spots.
Mr Burrows said the R&V camping site secured a resource consent for a further 3000, which brought the total to 8000 with about 6000 already sold.
“That is 20,000 campers locked in and heading this way to stay and see in the new year.”
He estimates festival attendees will generate a cash inflow of about $11.5 million, excluding the cost of R&V tickets.
“BW hosts more than half of the people coming from outside the district,” he said.
“Most are coming to Gisborne for the entire week. The product is so strong and has been for the past 10 years because of this.
“The campers have great places to hang out during the day and then get to venture to the events at night.”
Lewis Whaitiri and Monique Hobdell from Gisborne and their crew of about 15, including two from Perth, will pitch their tents at the Te Kuri a Tuatai Marae-based Band Camp for the third year in a row. They are one of two groups of locals that camp at Band Camp.
“We are always up for something new and thought why not get amongst it with the out-of-towners. We love this unique Gizzy experience that attracts thousands here.
“It is the one week of the year our friends are home and we get to unwind together. We are frowned on a little bit for being locals but it is so much fun we just can’t stay away.”
Mr Whaitiri was an earlybird who secured tickets as soon as they went on sale six months ago. Their boost combo for $390 is for five days of camping, BW passes and R&V tickets.
“We scored the second-tier tickets. The first tier was $370 but we missed out because it was first-in, first-served. The internet overloaded and the system kept shutting down. It took more than an hour to purchase our tickets but it will be worth it.”
Mr Burrows said a “huge amount” of R&V and BW Camping tickets were sold when first launched in May and demand was still strong.
Fifty percent of the BW tickets for December 27 and 28 have also sold.
The outdoor theatre capacity of 12,000 is taken up mainly by campers.
Day tickets are always hot property, he said.
“The soundshell events sell out every year. They are historically some big nights and a great way to open up the R&V week.”
BW has some heavyweight entertainers this year including Shihad, Kora and Six60.
Mr Burrows said his team had been busy all year, with planning on all fronts.
“Each year we aim to improve our planning and refine our systems. Like anything, the idea is always to learn from your mistakes and build on what you do well.”
Mr Burrows said R&V was the lead event but BW brought people to Gisborne a couple of days earlier.
A popular BW daytime event is the annual Bikini Jam on December 30.