Nov 19

What have they done to Toast Martinborough? Part2

So after we dried off a bit and had some lunch, we decided to head out again and see if the rain had stopped, which it had. In fact, having changed out of my new summery dress into jeans and a jumper, the sun was now out. Arggghhh!

Anyway – we decided that with the time allowed we would head to Murilea rise for The JediNights, and then plan to head to Palliser for The Beat Girls at about 3pm for the end of day party. Got caught listening to a bit of a boring band until the Jedis came on, but by then it was really time to head off. Ho Hum – had some nice wine though!

But it was at Palliser that we noticed a real difference. By the time we turned up – for the “60′s-70′s” set, it was pretty empty. By this time, there is usually a good crowd dancing already, and you just join in the fun. But if there 10 of us dancing to Twist & Shout, I don’t think I’m under counting. (Alcoholic daze notwithstanding). And no queue for wine or food at Palliser either – never had that before!

This is what it looked like at about the same time last year.

The other thing was that although the dance area did fill up – it filled up with people sitting down and eating. later, when the 80′s set came on – although it was now a full dance floor, most people just stood there, so it was actually hard to dance.

The most startling difference though was the lack of fun and atmosphere. It was there – but just as “high” as normal. There weren’t as many people having a laugh with complete random strangers, and I noticed that the Beat Girls’ sets had more “quiet” songs in than normal. It was as if everyone had been asked not to get us all too excited. i also noticed a lack of older people. Given that all the trouble last years was inevitably blamed on the “youngsters” – it looks like the new system has actually caused a decline in the number of older victors, so that overall age has gone down.

So all in all – still a good event, but the security and large numbers of police officers did seem to dampen the atmosphere.

On the hand – perhaps I just hadn’t had enough to drink?


Heard on the bus back to the square:

Thank god we had free tickets – cos that was bleeping crap.


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  1. marcus

    Fortunately the organisers are making an effort to reduce the kiddy factor at Toast.

    We live 10 minutes from TK and I have to say that in the 6 years we’ve lived here I have been twice and hated every minute of it. Noisy drunks are not really my idiom.

    My suggestion has always been to double the price of the tickets and sell half as many and try and civilise the event a bit.

  2. admin

    Hi Marcus
    It’s odd, there seem to be fewer wineries each year – which naturally concentrates more people at fewer locations. And yet this year, there seemed just as many of the younger generation, but far fewer of the older generation. Perhaps reluctant to return given the drama’s of last year. And yet we didn’t see any problems last year, and encountered lots of them this year.

    I think doubling the price of the tickets is about the only way to thin out the crowds a bit, but then if more wineries were involved, they’d be a natural thinning..

  3. Marcus

    The wineries have to pay quite a lot to be involved. I forget the amount but many thousands of dollars anyway.

    The number involved really is a reflection on the health of the industry – when times are good, more of them can afford it. We’ve been here since early 07 and I would say that times have been trending down rather than up since then!

    When we first arrived, the chef in the Martinborough Hotel was winning awards and dinner there was $350 and a 4 month wait for a table. All a bit different now – he went to Auckland and the hotel is virtually a sports bar now, many of the well known places to eat are now gone (Est, French Bistro etc) and the lacklustre tourist marketing of the region is showing…

    I sometimes think that adopting the Marlborough approach of having it in one location with each vineyard having a Marquee around a central music venue might be the way to go – gets rid of the whole bus/staggering drunks on the roads thing.

    Only in NZ would hanging a glass around the neck of someone planning on getting drunk and falling over be considered sensible…!!

  4. Hubby

    A single site is where the Wairarapa Harvest festival works quite well. Down Daikins road, and focusses a bit more on the non-Martinborough vinyards! Yep, for all the marketing from Toast you’d think there were no other wineries in the Wairarapa outside of Martinborough.

    Picked up a leaflet for the Marlborough event the other day, we’ll have a proper look and see what it’s like.

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