18 Apr 2009

Wildfoods festival crowd numbers down

9:59 am on 18 April 2009

Poor ticket sales and falling profits have led to plans for an overhaul of the annual Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika.

Attendance dropped to 12,000 at the event in March, compared to as many as 20,000 in in recent years.

Organisers say this year's event faced competition from the Ellerslie Flower Show in Christchurch, held in March for the first time, while the economic downturn also meant people stayed home.

However, festival director Mike Keenan says it is not time to pull the plug on the event.

Mr Keenan says the festival has been extremely successful since its first year in 1990, and has brought great rewards to the local community, but attendance mustt to increase and a major overhaul is needed to find ways of improving profits.