Event to replace Moonshine fest

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A plan has been brewed to replace this year’s Hokonui Moonshiners’ Festival with a similar event at the Tussock Country Music Festival.

Gore District Council arts and heritage curator Jim Geddes said the two-yearly festival could not be held as usual this month, due to construction work at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and the disruption caused by Covid-19.

“The area that we use for the festival is all blocked off full of builders and concrete mixers and things,” Mr Geddes said.

“With major events you need to be booking acts, booking marquees, booking sound systems mid last year and under the Covid situation, we couldn’t possibly do that.

“It’s just so much easier not to have it this year.”

However, as part of Tussock Country, the moonshine festival committee would run an Old Hokonui whisky and food match event at the Maruawai Centre on June 1.

The theme and format would be similar, Mr Geddes said.

“There will be music [and] we’re going to have specially curated food and beverage matches.”

As usual, there would be a strong emphasis on themed food.

“We always had .. local ingredients and prohibition-era food, which bordered on the wild food [festival].”

It would be catered by chef Jude Taylor, and spirits would be supplied by distillers from throughout the southern region.

“She is going to be matching tapas style-themed food with beverages.”

Ticket sales for the whisky and food and other Tussock Country events opened on Friday.

The moonshine festival committee also planned to hold another event later in the year, Mr Geddes said.

“We’re looking at doing a major event late winter-early spring to celebrate the impending opening of the museum.”

The moonshine festival “could well be” back again next February, he said.