What better way than a Beer Festival to act as a barometer, or should that be beerometer, in measuring the surge of craft beer availability over the past three years.
One of my favourite such events is MarchFest, which has tripled the number of beers served in this time period. 2000 people are expected at the 2011 festival and this year 12 new craft beers are being offered to discerning beer lovers at the upcoming event on March 26th. MarchFest is the country’s only beer festival to commission new craft beers especially for the event which celebrates the top of the South Island’s status as New Zealand’s premier hop growing and craft beer brewing region.
This year, MarchFest will be held on March 26th from midday to 9pm, at Founders Heritage Park, Nelson.
MarchFest’s inaugural outing was in 2008, when it served up just four new beers. Co-organisor Mic Dover says he puts its rapid success down to the region’s hops heritage and the consistent quality entertainment at each year’s event.
“Nelson has more craft breweries per head of the population than anywhere else in the country, so creating good beer is in our blood,” Mic says. “We’ve also aimed to always have a high level of quality entertainment at MarchFest, so this is something the festival is also becoming really well known for”.
“This year, as well as live performances by The Eastern, Delaney Davidson, Chimuka and The Barons of Tang, for the first time ever we have nabbed a comedian, and not just any old comedy act, but world-renowned American comedian Wilson Dixon,” he says. “March 26th is going to be an amazing day out!”
Mic says sustainability has also always been an important theme of MarchFest.
“At the 2010 event we had four electricity generating bicycles, which were very popular with festival goers, and we hope to repeat this attraction this year. For the first time, we will also be using photovoltaics for lighting, and a wind turbine to generate power”.
“Once again, MarchFest will be set in the beautiful, traffic-free environment of Founders Heritage Park, with all activity areas having the potential to be sheltered from sun, wind or rain,” Mic concludes.
“With the great beer, great entertainment, great food, and the activities to entertain the children, we are expecting more than 2,000 people to MarchFest this year.”
Tickets are on sale now and are available from Everyman Records, Nelson ($2 booking fee) and from NBS (Nelson Building Society) for no booking fee. Tickets are discounted to $22 if purchased before February 28th 2011, otherwise tickets are $32. Under-18s are free (accompanied by parent/guardian).
For the third year running SOBA is organising a special three-day ‘Weekend Away Social’ to the Nelson area incorporating MarchFest of course and which is being organised by yours truly. Due to demand, the number of places available on the trip has been expanded to 30 and there are still a limited number of spaces going.
As well as discounted MarchFest tickets, the trip this year includes brewery visits to Totara, McCashins and Golden Bear, plus a leisurely afternoon session at the legendary Moutere Inn. SOBA will have a promotional stand at the festival. See the SOBA website for more info or email [email protected]
Bring it on!
Nick Page, Editor