The Nelson region is New Zealand’s sole hop growing area – and has always been in the vanguard of the emerging craft beer renaissance. Unlike most beer festivals, all the beers available at MarchFest have been specially commissioned for the event and have never previously been tasted by the public.
Every year around 15 regional craft breweries sign up to produce a new beer for the event. These beers all make their world debut at MarchFest. Top of the South breweries include Dale's, Eddyline, Founders, Golden Bear, Hop Farm, Hop Federation, Lighthouse, McCashin’s, Moa, Mussel Inn, Renaissance, Sprig and Fern, Townshend’s and more..
MarchFest is also celebrating its tenth year by expanding craft-beer related events in the region to a whole week, with the announcement of the inaugural ‘Nelson Beer Week’ running from March 18-24th at venues around the region. Craft beer-related events at bars, restaurants, hop farms and even golf courses will allow Kiwi breweries from outside Nelson to get involved as well as local breweries.
Great live music is always a big feature of MarchFest. For 2017, MarchFest will be headlined by the hip-hop soul queen of New Zealand, Ladi6. Supporting Ladi will be festival favourites The Eastern, Welly ska band BattleSka Galactica, cool Nelson acts Not Bruce Willis, Django Schmango as well as Ragged Crow Morris and wacky ukulele artist Russ from Alaska.
And unlike other beer festivals, MarchFest is not just about beer. It’s also about local wines, ciders and juices, regional cuisine (including a beer and food matching lunch) as well as its ‘event genre mash-up’ insistence on being a craft beer festival, an indie/world music gig, a hops showcase, an educational forum for home/wannabe brewers and a family-friendly day out. MarchFest is also about creating an event where responsible drinking and good parenting go hand-in-hand – so there will be heaps of cool stuff for kids to do.
Welcome to MarchFest, Nelson and New Zealand's beer flavoured festival - a celebration of music, food, fun and of course, proper beer.