TBT: Too old for R&V?

Fiona Ralph joins the crowds at the country's biggest New Year's festival


Happy New Year!

I have a confession to make. Tonight, for the first time, I will see the New Year in at Rhythm and Vines. As a 31-year-old groupie. ‘Am I too old’? You, and all of my friends, ask.

The Gisborne festival has always been seen as a younger event, especially by the tens of thousands of teens who attend each year. Although I hear the aim is to change that this year, via folk music, comedy shows, craft beer, stricter drinking rules and a VIP ticket push.

I don't know how I've managed to avoid the country's biggest New Year's festival for 12 years. It hasn't been on purpose, although dance music is far from my favourite thing. In fact, I did spend one New Year's Eve in Gisborne, although no one in our group was heading to R&V. 

It was probably best I didn't have a ticket. I ended up in hospital on the 31st, certain that I'd contracted meningitis — I had a terrible headache and couldn't move my neck. Doctors pronounced a migraine, and assumed I was just another party pill victim. It was only after the excruciating drive home that I realised I had a sprained neck from performing somersaults against the tent wall.

That's far from the only stupid thing I've done on New Year's Eve (shopping trolley rides, run-ins with the cops and surf club romances spring to mind). Although as I get older, the nights have definitely become tamer.

I've attended family affairs for the past two years, and prior to that I was struck down with a parasite in Mexico, only managing to limp out of bed for a peek at the fireworks.

Perhaps the New Year's Eve cycle functions as a condensed version of a person's life cycle — 10 years of partying before you regress to child-like activities. If that's the case, then I have shadow puppets with my parents and screenings of The Labyrinth to look forward to.

Tonight, however, I will relive my youth. And in the spirit of the evening, I'll raise my (plastic) glass to wish everyone a happy New Year, and a crazy, stupid night to remember, with no hospital visits or other ill effects to speak of.

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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

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