Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Oktoberfest Comes To New Zealand – In March

Oktoberfest Comes To New Zealand – In March

MarchFest, a major craft beer and music event based on the German OktoberFest, is coming to New Zealand in March. Dead Good Beer Events (DGBE), the organisers of Nelson’s quarterly 'Beer Fetes' have revealed details of the event which debuts on Saturday March 29th at Founders Heritage Park in Nelson. As well as never before-tasted beers there will be music from major acts including acclaimed Kiwi singer-songwriter Sean James Donnelly (SJD), kora player Jali Buba Kuyateh from Senegal, acoustic blues guitarist John Crampton from the UK and South Island/Botswana reggae band One Vibe.

Like Munich’s OktoberFest, MarchFest will feature new beers created by brewers especially for the event, with the proviso that they must include locally grown hops and be previously unavailable anywhere else in the world. No other NZ beer event has ever adopted this approach before - the organisers of MarchFest have chosen beers, music, cuisine and facilities with a view to encouraging responsible drinking behaviour and the attendance of all ages. DGBE's previous beer events were carefully designed to target mature drinkers (mature in behaviour rather than mature in years) to avoid the problems associated with other kinds of beer-related events –the kind that encourages people to get intoxicated by indiscriminate consumption of cheap alcohol in the fastest time possible.

MarchFest runs from 11am until 9pm, wet or fine. There will be marquees, regional beer-friendly cuisine at affordable prices, eclectic music, children’s entertainment and surprise guest beers. It is planned to offer festivalgoers a variety of transportation options, including arriving by historic train or bus. Special souvenir beer glasses printed with the MarchFest logo have been imported from the same glassmakers in Germany that supply OktoberFest.

The $25 ticket price will include a commemorative souvenir beer glass, admission to all festival events and activities including the music, beer, wine and food areas. Ticketing information will be available soon at



About the festival brews

Straw Beery Blonde: “It will be a New World lager with an alcoholic strength of around 4.5% abv,”says Founders brewer John Duncan. “We’ll do some tasting notes once it has been brewed!”

March Hare: “It’s a unique manuka beer,” says Mussel Inn brewer Andrew Dixon, “using local sauvin hops. Manuka is becoming quite iconic in the area - which will help to reinforce the regionality of MarchFest.”

Henley’s Revenge: "The UK's Brakspears Brewery in Henley-on-Thames closed down in 2002 having opened in 1711,” says brewer Martin Townshend. “Henley’s Revenge is my tribute to their fine beermaking traditions. It's also a nod in the direction of Mic & Eelco's efforts in raising awareness of Nelson's craft beers - Mic was a Brakspears fan before he emigrated here."

Easter Ale: “It’s full name is Long Hop and Two Smoking Barrels Easter Ale,” says Tasman’s Dave Barrett. “You can call it Easter Ale for short!

About the breweries
The four local breweries selected for the 2008 MarchFest are Founders, The Mussel Inn, Tasman and Townshend’s. Founders is Australasia’s first organic brewery and is now a sixth generation family brewing business. The Mussel Inn is an iconic green brewery in Golden Bay, recently added to Lonely Planet’s Blue List under the category of 'Best Brews - The World's Finest Beer Headquarters'. Tasman Brewery is the force behind the new ‘Sprig and Fern’ neighbourhood pub franchise and Townshend’s is the newest of only three ‘real ale’ breweries in New Zealand.

Craft brewers use traditional brewing techniques and local ingredients to produce fresh, tasty beers. Craft brewers produce beer in small batches and do not use chemicals to make the beer last longer. Like our wines, Kiwi craft beers are attracting attention and winning international awards for their high quality and distinctive flavours. New Zealand has a great climate for barley cultivation, world-class hops grow in Motueka and there are abundant supplies of mineral-rich, clean water.

The Organisers
MarchFest is the creation of Eelco Boswijk and Mic Dover, the people behind Dead Good Beer Events who organise the quarterly Nelson Beer Fetes at Founders Park. Dead Good Beer Events are connecting the new breed of Kiwi craft brewers with the growing number of beer drinkers who are demanding more from their beer.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>


NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland