Festival preparations on song

Oyster eating contestants compete in one of the popular heats at a past Bluff Oyster & Food Festival. Photo: Andrew Baird

THE tickets may be sold out, but preparations continue apace for the 2018 Bluff Oyster & Food Festival in Bluff on Saturday, May 26.

The musical entertainment is in place, a wonderful variety of food is all but finalised and the traditional Bluff oyster events will introduce some exciting innovations this year.

Tickets for the event sold out at the beginning of February, almost two months earlier than last year.

Festival-goers will come from far and wide and Air New Zealand will once again operate its popular day trips for Bluff oyster lovers with two jets scheduled this year, one from Auckland and one from Wellington.

After the Piping In and the traditional Ode to the Oyster, the crowd will be able to enjoy a wide variety of southern seafood headlined by the iconic Bluff oyster. For those not partial to seafood, there will be other options plus a range of beverages.

The oyster events, which include opening and eating races, are always very popular, but look out for some exciting new innovations this year – innovations scheduled to be announced soon.

On stage, the popular Bluff School Kapa Haka Group will commence proceedings with a great line-up of musical entertainment to follow. Five acts, four of them with strong Southland links, offer a variety of music genres.

Lachie Hayes, of Tokanui, will begin with his alternative folk-infused blues, followed by Invercargill band Otepuni Moonshine, a popular act at last year’s event.

Next up will be another musician who performed last year, Helen Henderson, supported by the Mollymawks. Although based in the United States, Henderson also owns a house in Bluff.

She will be followed by Gore-born but Nashville-domiciled Jackie Bristow at the end of a nationwide tour with Australian muso Mark Punch. In recent times, Bristow has opened for Bonnie Raitt and Foreigner, impressive credentials indeed.

Dunedin modern rock quartet The River Jesters will follow on to rock through to the end of the day.

While tickets are sold out for this year’s festival, tickets for next year’s festival, scheduled for May 25, will go on sale at 6pm on May 26 as the curtain comes down on the 2018 event.

The 2018 festival will take place at the Bluff Oyster & Food Festival site, Lee St, Bluff, with gates scheduled to open at 10.30am.

– Lindsay Beer is the Bluff publicity/promotions officer

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