Full Open Letter

Full Letter

I have no idea how to advertise this thing!

Let’s go back a step.

I was walking up a hill on Waiheke Island, cup of coffee in my hand, when an amazing friend of mine – Ian Kuperus – said, “G, what do you think about Parachute Festival being cancelled?”

I told him I was gutted. That I had been to every one since it had moved North, and I knew that he had done almost the same.

Ian said, “If I found underwriting for it, would you run it?”.


And that was it! May 24, 2014.

Since then we’ve absolutely gone for it!

We met with Parachute to see if it would be OK with them – we have been long time friends and supporters of Mark and Chris. Mark said he’d be very happy, and we have signed Parachute as consultants for FestivalOne.

We wanted to find if there was desire for a 3 day, residential Festival. We called meetings. We met with heaps of people.

“Go for it! We need something that brings us all together!” Interestingly, a whole host of people who had helped with Parachute Festival, started to appear and come on board.

By early June we were on the verge of saying let’s go. There was one bit missing.

What was the Festival to be about? It couldn’t just be a repeat. What would be the difference?

Everyone was saying the same thing. The reason they went to Festival was to be with people. To meet people they only saw there. Meet new people. Talk. Swap stories. To enjoy the bands. To worship, together, with others. It was about the whole thing, not just the bands!.

The light went on!

We’ve spent the last month dreaming and scheming – building a really robust backbone for a multi-day Festival where people come and have a stunning time – together.

Everybody seems to add a new, good idea to the mix!

Then another light went on!

Festival One is not just about people coming and absorbing. It is about every one of us bringing our stuff, our own stories. Our own hopes and dreams.

Man, that started a whole other burst of creative energy. So here’s where we are at the moment! But stand by, this thing is growing all the time as we all – you included – continue to bring more to it!

Do we have great artists? For sure. Today we are announcing Switchfoot, Omega Levine, HalfNoise, CanonBlue, Brady Toops, Edge Kingsland, South Auckland Poets Collective. And we have plenty more we will be able to announce in a day or so! But how good is that sounding so far!

How about this? We will be giving away an incredible prize for the best, most amazing campsite! That’s right. Bring your creativity! Picket fences? Front yards? Flag poles? Banners? How can you make your space completely unique and awesome? Go for it! What can you do? How can you add colour and texture to your Festival One?

You’ll be able to drive right onto site this time. Kirit and his crew are building a huge drop off area, right close to the camping space. Drive in, drop off, drive out to parking. Easy!

If you are a group of 10 or more people, we are happy to pre-allocate space for you. No more rushing to try and get your precious piece of land! It’s going be tricky for Renee, but she says she’s up for it! Awesome!

Saturday night will be a huge buzz! Generous farmers have donated tonnes of meat – literally! We will be running a huge series of Argentinian style BBQ’s. Come and help us cook. And then we will be giving you the meat – for FREE! Yes. Our gift to you. Come and have a huge BBQ with us!

The whole site will stop for a lunch and dinner break each day. So we can all be together, including the crew and artists. Who knows who you might meet?

The Marketplace is going to be fantastic. Wait until you see what Andy and his amazing crew have done to turn this into a very special place with heaps going on almost all the time, courtesy of help from Phil and Nikki. (They are the couple that always used to camp on the cart dock at the bottom of the driveway, and did interesting things with their site every year.)

I could go on and on!

But I’d rather tell about a dilemma I have. How on earth do you tell people about this? What we are building is not easy to describe in an ad, or even a text. In fact you can’t. It is so much more. More even than I’ve covered here. (Did I mention the whole Instagram thing – with on-site printing and art displays of your work? Or the short (90 sec) film competition and festival? Or the amazing line up of speakers and seminar leaders that we will be announcing shortly – each one passionate about the Christian faith? )

Simply put, I’ve come to the scariest conclusion of all.

It’s this. I don’t know how to advertise this, even though that is what I do for a living! This is simply too big, too good to describe in 30 seconds! Festival One is not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about all of us, getting together, having a great old time, and celebrating the God who is at the centre of us and all that we do!

I’m convinced, scary as it sounds, that Festival One is about actually not advertising. At least not in the old fashioned way! It is about each of us telling each other.

Will you help?

I simply don’t know how else to do this! I’m petrified, given how much passion, energy and time – not to mention money – has already gone into this!

But I’m saying – “over to you”!

Will you help us let the whole country know about Festival One?

Our website goes up today. We will be able to take bookings first week of September.

Over to you.

Graham Burt

Executive Director

Partners and Sponsors