by Chris Tobin
Former Timaru resident Sam Heath always wanted to stage a music festival in Timaru and now it is happening.
Soundsplash featuring Stan Walker, Tike Taane, Chicago rapper Polo G, Peking Duk, Sons of Zion, Dylan Frost (Sticky Fingers) and more than 30 other acts starts at Caroline Bay on Friday and runs to Sunday.
Mr Heath, Soundsplash’s Timaru event manager, grew up in Timaru.
“I first did music events at the Old Mill nine years ago, which was the start of my career.
“I can remember going past the bay when there was high fencing up and a concert on and always wanted to come back to do that.”
He thought Caroline Bay was under-utilised and persuaded a business friend, Mitch Lowe, of Tauranga, that it could be the ideal venue for a festival.
“I showed him the venue and he thought it was amazing. We tried to get Bay Dreams (another festival) for Timaru but it went to Nelson.”
Last year Mr Lowe and business partner Pato Alvarez, also of Tauranga, bought Soundsplash Raglan to add to their large list of music events in the country.
Mr Heath and his Dunedin company, Nudge Marketing, came on board to run a South Island version of Soundsplash in Timaru.
“It’s quite a large number of moving parts,” Mr Heath said.
“With security and production we’ll have 300 staff, 60 on security and 40 bar staff – it all adds up quickly.”
Two fully licensed bars would be operating with a specially designated camping area established near the Port Loop. The acts would be performed at three venues – the Soundshell, Bay Hall and the bay rotunda.
Initially it was hoped 8000 would be attending but Mr Heath said this was just the capacity figure for the festival.
“We’re looking at 3000 people; it’s only the first year and it will grow from there.”
He said they had received “amazing support” from the Timaru District Council.
The festival opens at 1.30pm on Friday with the music starting at 2.30pm and continuing to 12.30am; the same hours apply on Saturday. On Sunday it will run from 10am to 2pm and will include carnival rides and a marketplace.