Partying for a purpose: King Beats 2021, going ahead in Kingston this Saturday, will raise money for Central Lakes Family Services

The organiser of an annual charity music festival in Kingston’s got skin in the game.

Queenstown builder Brendan Mulcahy came up with the idea for King Beats Charity Music Festival five years ago, initially intending to just throw a party for his mates.

Last year it grew to attract about 1400 people, who camped out at Kingston Station for the 13-hour music festival, which gives as much money as possible each year to charity.

But Mulcahy says he’s been so charitable in the past he’s had to take out a “huge loan every year” to ensure he can pay everyone involved.

“That puts so much stress on me, it’s crazy.

“If I hadn’t given away all the money in the last few years I wouldn’t have to get this big loan out.

“I’m a nervous wreck – if I don’t sell enough tickets it’ll probably just be finished, and I’ll be broke.”

He’s hoping this year’s event, being held this weekend and featuring Kora as the headline act, will attract at least 2000 people so he can save a bit of money and guarantee the future of the festival.

To date, King Beats has given more than $40,000 to charity – this year there’ll be three beneficiaries: Garston School, the Wakatipu Youth Trust and Ronald McDonald House.

“I’ve heard people going ‘oh, it’s $120 for a ticket’, yeah, but … part of your ticket goes straight to charity, you’ve got 13 hours of music, it’s a BYO – glass free – and you literally just have to play one of our games and you could be walking away with double the price of your ticket, easily, as a prize.

“There’s nothing else like it – kids under 12 are free and everybody just has a fun day.”

The site opens about 11am on Saturday for festival-goers to set up their tents for the night, before gates open at 1pm.

Entertainment starts about 1.30pm and will continue till “2am or 3am, depending on the weather and the wind”.

“It’s a jam-packed day for the price of your ticket,” Mulcahy says.

“It’s going to be massive.”

Tickets are available from