Record sellout stuns organisers

    Bluff oyster testing shows samples remain free of the parasite Bonamia ostreae.

    IT took just one hour for this year’s Bluff Oyster & Food Festival tickets to sell out indication more space is needed for the event, organisers say.

    Bluff Oyster and Food Festival Trust chairman John Edminstin said he was overwhelmed with the support for this year’s edition of the event.

    Only 2000 tickets were on sale on Monday, as some of the tickets from last year’s event, which was cancelled due to Covid-19, were rolled over to this year.

    “Bad news for some people. Good news for us.

    “In seven minutes, we had 1100 tickets sold. After one hour, all tickets were gone. I thought it would be busy enough but I did not realise we would sell out this quick,” he said.

    Mr Edminstin said the demand for the tickets highlighted the need for the trust to demolish four buildings in Gore St which made up the Club Hotel, a category 2 heritage building which was owned by the trust.

    The trust applied for a resource consent in 2019 to demolish it, but the request was declined by the Invercargill City Council.

    Members of the trust would meet the council this week to discuss the matter further, Mr Edminstin said.

    He wanted the building demolished in the next month so more tickets could be sold.

    “This [the record selling time] proves that we need more room.

    “I don’t know exactly how many tickets, I need to measure the area, but at least 600 to 700 hundred more.”

    The trust could not sell and did not have the money to maintain the deteriorating building, and had spent more than $30,000 trying to get it demolished last time, he said.

    “The sooner we get rid of it, the better, because we will have more room and it will be better for everybody. It will be more money for the Bluff community, more money for Southland.”