Rhythm and Vines festival pays off for local businesses

The Rhythm and Vines festival draws a crowd nearly half the entire population of Gisborne, and along with it comes tens of millions of dollars to the economy, a life saver for many local business.

Along with these 15,000-odd festival goers comes the ringing of cash registers for local businesses.

“There's around a $12 million cash injection into the region over the New Year period which is directly attributed to Rhythm and Vines and given the dollar spent staying in the region, it has an impact of around $48 million,” says Hamish Pinkham, founder of the Rhythm and Vines festival

“All the shops in town are full of people, whether they're out at the pubs and cafes or out to enjoy a beer, says” Meng Foon, Gisborne Mayor.

It's a huge undertaking to run an event on this scale. This year around 800 jobs are up for grabs, jobs that are vital for companies like this security operation that hire many locals.

Melissa Mackey-Huriwai from Concept Security says “It really helps to sustain their families when it gets tough finding work. So to be able to earn some money becomes really important. Most of our workers are from here, so we know that it's going to help them.”

Though the big attraction of the festival is the 60-plus artists, including major international stars, the influx of people has a flow-on effect to the wider Gisborne region.

“It is very good for the outer parts of town like Ruatoria, Tikitiki, Uawa, Te Araroa, because there are many that have never visited those places, so this is the opportunity for them to go and have a look,” says Mayor Foon.

The majority of the crowds came from outside the region - mainly from Auckland or Wellington. But now R&V is into its 13th year they hope to keep a class event going in the years to come.