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Covid puts paid to Labour Weekend festivals

Labour Weekend in Gisborne will be quiet this year following the cancellation of music festival The Longline Classic and the postponement of First Light Wine and Food Festival due to the Delta Covid-19 outbreak.

While The Longline Classic (scheduled for October 23) has been canned for 2021, this year's edition of the Wine and Food Festival (October 24) will instead be held on the Waitangi holiday weekend of 2022.

Tickets for both festivals will remain valid for the events' next iterations. Refunds are available for those unable to attend.

Attendees will need a valid vaccine passport to attend.

The Prime Minister yesterday announced Auckland would remain in its present Level 3 status, with Gisborne and most of the rest of New Zealand staying at Level 2.

“Based on the New Zealand Government's announcement last night, and Gisborne still being in Level 2, we are required to postpone the festival until we can safely run in Level 1,” Wine & Food Festival event co-ordinator Georgina Kemp said.

“We are really excited to announce that we will still be having the First Light Wine & Food Festival and the new date is Saturday, February 5, 2022.

“It will be the perfect way to enjoy the Gisborne summer.”

With Waitangi Day celebrated on Sunday the sixth, Monday will be a public holiday.

“We will be following the proposed rules for NZ law around vaccine passports as this may well impact our festival in February so we will keep you updated,” Kemp said. “If enforced by NZ law, we will be enforcing this at the festival.”

The Longline Classic organisers said there was too much risk to reschedule another date and decided to cancel the festival altogether.

“After much deliberation, we are gutted to announce that The Longline Classic will not be taking place this summer 2021,” they said in an Instagram post.

They considered an alternative date but simply can't afford risking a backup date that “a: might not work for everyone; and b: might not take place due to Covid.”

“The current circumstances surrounding alert levels and the unpredictability of future Covid-19 outbreaks have created an extremely tough environment for us to plan and ultimately deliver the festival we hoped to be giving you this summer.”

The festival was started by Kurt Barker and James Bristow after friends came to stay in Gisborne and the two men set a longline down at the beach.

Some of New Zealand's biggest artists were set to perform at the event including Sir Dave Dobbyn, David Dallas, Leisure, Imugi and Melodownz.

“We take pride in delivering premium events, but in these conditions we do not believe we can operate to our full capabilities. We have decided that it would be best to postpone until Labour Weekend next year so that we're in a strong position to come back better than ever.”

Ticket prices will go up next year meaning those with tickets for the 2021 event have the bonus of cheaper tickets if they hold on to them.

“Thank you for your love and support. It has truly made a very stressful time manageable for both of us. We cannot wait to repay you next year.”

These two events join the Poverty Bay A&P Spring Show on the event no-go list for 2021.

NOT THIS YEAR: Dancing at the picturesque Ashwood Park is off the menu for Labour Weekend this year, with organisers of The Longline Classic music festival forced to cancel the 2021 edition due to Covid-19 uncertainty. Tickets already purchased will be valid for the 2022 festival. Another major Labour Weekend event, the First Light Wine & Food Festival, has been postponed to February 5, 2022. Herald file picture