Open Letter

Hello everyone.

What on earth is this thing Festival One? Why is this thing Festival one? How did it come about? Here’s the thing…

May 2014. I was walking up a hill on Waiheke Island, cup of coffee in my hand, when an amazing friend of mine – Ian Kuperus – said, “G, what do you think about Parachute Festival being cancelled?”

I told him I was gutted. That I had been to every one since it had moved North, and I knew that he had done almost the same.

Ian said, “If I found underwriting for it, would you run it?”.


And that was it!

Since then we’ve absolutely gone for it! We registered a company, and then a charity as Summer Festival Ltd. After a week we thought… nah! and came up with Festival One, and ran with that. Hundreds and hundreds of volunteers and years of collected wisdom. Away we went at warp speed.

Five years later what have we learnt?

People love – really love  – Festival One. We are continually being told how important Festival One is for this generation and future generations. We agree. We are setting out to steward Festival One well to ensure it endures.

People love – really love – the times when we are all worshiping together. That we can come together from all over the place, all types of churches and gatherings, and join together worshiping the one God and our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. That these times, both huge … and intimate. Often very personal and private. The collective and the individual simultaneously. Just like God. Which leads to …

People love – really love – the unexpected, the intimate moments. Meeting new people and forming deep relationships. An informal pop – up concert. A time of impromptu worship. Late night prayer. Or just being alone with God in the middle of a crowd.

People love – really love – all the little creative touches around the place, from the crazy steam punk BBQ’s to the equally mad street of parasols. The “western style” bank, church, general store, and Town Hall. And did we mention the teepees? Or the amazing opening session on the Friday of festival? And on and on. One of my greatest pleasures is being able to make room for incredibly talented people to express themselves. What about the always changing layouts for the One Arena and different people playing with light all around Festival.

People love – really love – that it is so much easier to get to their site to set up their camp. They love the BBQ’s. They love the Market Stage and the whole Market vibe. And on and on. Again, huge teams of volunteer organisers and workers being given space to do what they love doing – looking after and inspiring others.

My take? At the end of each Festival I’m completely blown away by the way Festival One has felt like one huge family. And equally by the endless stories – which I so love hearing – of how something amazing has happened for someone just by themselves, or in a small group. Again the collective and the individual. The God of the universe and the God who asked Jesus to go to a cross for me.

Simply stunning. Thank you all. A thousand thank you’s. Thank you to all of you for coming, enjoying Festival One, and for adding the uniqueness that only you can bring. Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who give so selflessly for the glory of God and not themselves. Thank you to those who donate, underwrite and make this all possible. Thank you to all the organisations that so kindly support us.

Most of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart, to our Heavenly Father who graces us with His amazing presence year after year, throughout the year, day by day and minute by minute. In our hearts it is His festival anyway.

As we look and plan towards Festival One 2021…

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn His face towards you, and give you His peace.

Executive Director