Police urge party-goers at Rhythm and Vines to stay safe

The worst of predicted bad weather has passed south of Gisborne where the sold out Rhythm and Vines music festival is gearing up.

Getting there is challenging, though, with two-hour traffic delays on Friday afternoon.

The New Year festival at Waiohika Estate vineyard, which runs from Friday to Sunday, regularly attracts a crowd of 20,000.

On Friday afternoon Gisborne District Council said contractors advised there was a two-hour delay as cars were backed up from the festival entrance to Gisborne Hospital.

"If you're heading to the festival delay your travel to avoid a long wait. Other road users please avoid the area and use SH2," the council said.

MetService had warned heavy rain and winds could pass over the area from Thursday evening to midday on Friday.

Tairawhiti Civil Defence Emergency Management said the worst of the weather ended up being to the south of Gisborne.

The biggest wind gust of 87.1km/h was recorded at Mahia between 8pm and 9pm on Thursday.

The biggest rainfall was 67.2mm at Whakapunake, followed by 51.5mm at Mangapoike and 48.8mm on the Whareratas. Gisborne Airport only received 5.2mm.

The festival dropped its BYO alcohol policy after a riot at the 2014-15 event, and policing efforts have been stepped up in recent times.

This year, police will again breath-test every driver leaving the festival grounds.

Max Key, son of former Prime Minister Sir John Key, performs at the festival on Friday afternoon.

Headline acts include Schoolboy Q, Mura Masa, Baauer and Giggs and British rapper, actor and comedian Michael Dapaah,.

P-Money, and David Dallas have been confirmed to play the coveted New Year's Eve slot with Savage.

Rhythm and Vines safety tips:

  • Drink in moderation
  • Look after your friends, especially those who might have had too much to drink
  • Remember if you party through the night, you will not be in a fit state to drive in the morning
  • Keep an eye on your drinks and do not accept drinks you have not personally seen poured
  • Lock vehicles parked at the event and keep valuables out of sight.