By PHILIP CHANDLER
Thousands of music fans won’t be rocking to the sounds of famous international acts in Queenstown this summer.
The annual Gibbston Valley Winery summer tour concert, already postponed from this month till March 26, has been cancelled ‘‘with much regret’’, along with gigs in Taupo and the Coromandel.
Promoter Greenstone Entertainment had signed up ‘‘a fabulous international line-up’’ some
time ago, but CEO Amanda Calvert says: ‘‘With the current border restrictions, and the uncertainty surrounding the new Omicron variant, our international artists are not willing to
spend 10 days in a managed quarantine facility.’’
It had been hoped by March there’d be some form of home quarantine, which would have been acceptable to the artists, a media release states, but those hopes had been dashed.
Calvert’s hubby, ops manager Dean Calvert, says they’d also organised a ‘‘bespoke hotel complex’’ that still met health standards, but they couldn’t get that approved.
Battling Covid restrictions a year ago, the organisers hosted mainly Kiwi artists.
However, they did bring over Aussie band Dragon and, from the United States, Kiwi Gin
Last year’s crowd was down to about 8000 from 18,000 the year before, which had featured Billy Idol, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Anastacia, Smash Mouth and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
Dean says they’re now hoping to announce, in about March, ‘‘a massive line-up’’ for next year’s concert on February 11.
Amanda states: ‘‘There has been huge anticipation and enthusiasm from fans to find out more about our 2022 tour, and we’re saddened to have to make today’s announcement.
‘‘We understand our loyal customers will be disappointed, and we value [their] support.
‘‘We always strive to deliver outstanding, quality events and great live music, but unfortunately this year that was simply not going to be possible.
‘‘We recognise the importance of the summer concert tour to the regions in which it visits, with over 50,000 people attending the three shows annually — not only from the millions of dollars of economic benefit it generates each year, but also the hundreds of local staff and suppliers we’re able to engage and support, and the many local groups and charities who rely on this event for fundraising.
‘‘With the current border restrictions in place for international tourists, this year would have been more important than ever for driving domestic tourism to the region.’’
In 2020, for example, it was estimated 16,000 of the crowd of 18,000 came from outside the area.
‘‘Our demographic spends two or three days here, they’ve got a high disposable income,’’ Dean says.
He adds they also drew up a ‘Plan B’: ‘‘We tried to pull together a really big band here that hasn’t toured since the 1990s, but in the end that just became too challenging with some of the band members overseas, and what have you.’’
Dean reckons the cancellation of this year’s tour will cost his company more than
‘‘However, we’ve had 11 good years of this, so we’re in a position to come back strong, hopefully, in 2023.’’