Updated 20 March 2017.

Marchfest is celebrating its 10th birthday! On Saturday 25 March, one of New Zealand’s favourite beer festivals hits double figures and it’s definitely one not to be missed!

Marchfest, as the name would suggest, is held every year in the month of March in New Zealand’s sunniest city, Nelson. It’s a pretty unique festival in that beer (and music) is the focus, in a country renowned for its wine festivals (we’ve covered lots of them recently!!). As well as being a pretty awesome festival, it’s also held in one of the most beautiful cities in New Zealand so really, there’s no reason why we all shouldn’t be descending on Nelson this coming weekend to enjoy some beer and music in the sun!

Image of people enjoying the beer and sun at Marchfest

What can I expect at Marchfest 2017?

If you want to know what makes Marchfest different to other beer festivals you need only know this one little fact: Every beer at Marchfest has been commissioned specifically for the event and has never before been tasted by the public. Now that’s something pretty special right there.

Imagine getting there first and actually being the first ever person (brewers aside) to sample a delicious new beer from one of New Zealand’s top craft breweries? That’s a pretty awesome claim to fame and one for the Instagram account!

Other things you can expect this year are a stellar line up of regional craft breweries including: Dale’s Brewing Co., Eddyline Brewery and Pizzeria, Founders, Golden Bear, Funk Estate, Hop Farm Brewery, Hop Federation, Horse Box/Concept Brewing, Lighthouse Brewery, Karl’s Home Brewery, McCashin’s, Moa, The Mussel Inn, Renaissance/Behemoth, Sprig and Fern, Townshend’s and McLeods. These guys produce some of New Zealand’s finest craft beer and will be producing world debuting beers especially for Marchfest. That’s pretty special.

A talk from one of the brewers at Marchfest

Activities at Marchfest

There’s plenty going on throughout the whole day and it’s a festival that’s aimed at the whole family and one that encourages responsible drinking and parenting. There will be heaps of family friendly activities to get involved in as well as plenty for the grownups too including:

  • Meet the brewers – demos and talks
  • Gourmet beer and food matching lunch
  • Amazing food stalls with food from around the world
  • Live music
  • Kids Zone

Image of the Kids Zone at Marchfest

As you can see, there’s plenty of things going on throughout the day so lots to keep you entertained. If all this sounds like hard work and all you really want to do is grab a nice beer and sit in the sun, then that’s all good too. Marchfest is set in the surrounds of the stunning (and traffic free) Founders Heritage Park. Once you’ve found yourself a beer (or two), then there is plenty of space to kick back and relax, soaking up some of the glorious Nelson sunshine.

Live music at Marchfest

Although beer may be the lead singer, there’s plenty of supporting acts at Marchfest. If you’re not into beer, don’t worry. There are plenty of local wines and ciders available too so you don’t have to worry about finding a beer you like.

Marchfest also boasts a pretty awesome music lineup who have big boots to fill following an epic Marchfest lineup in 2016. This year, New Zealand hip-hop soul queen Ladi6 will be headlining alongside festival favourite The Eastern and skanking ska band, Battle-Ska Galactica. There are also some great local bands including Not Bruce Willis, Django Schmango and the Ragged Crow Morris.

Live music at Marchfest craft beer and food festival

Ticket info

Marchfest 2017 is taking place on Saturday 25 March in Founders Heritage Park. Tickets are still available and can be purchased through the official Marchfest website. Tickets cost $40 for a standard ticket and that is going to be money very well spent!

There is heaps of information available on the official Marchfest site including details of the breweries, the bands, the food and the kids zone activities so be sure to check it out and book your tickets today.

*All Marchfest photos courtesy of Steve Hussey Photography and taken from www.marchfest.com

Things to do in the area

Whether you’re a Nelson local or you are planning on visiting from further afield, there is plenty to do in and around Nelson if you have a spare couple of days. We have some pretty awesome road trip itineraries with suggested activities in the local area so make sure you check them out. If you need a ride, check out our Nelson car rental options.

One of the most popular things to do is to head out into the Abel Tasman National Park and explore the stunning coastline, crystal clear waters and beautiful native bush. It’s one of our favourite national parks and should be a must-do on your New Zealand list. We highly recommend hiring a kayak and exploring the park out on the water.

Image of people kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park with crystal clear waters and golden sandy beaches