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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Music, arts festival with burning horse

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

A private birthday celebration three years ago has turned into one of Southland’s most exciting and original music and arts festivals.

The second Burning Horse festival is set to get Southlanders dancing from Friday through to Sunday as it takes to Montana Flat, l about 30 minutes northwest of Gore.

Two stages of music featuring a variety of DJs and acoustic acts, the majority of whom will be from Southland and Otago, will as well show various art installations.

There will also be food trucks to feed those attending and the main attraction will, of course, be a ceremonial burning horse.

Event organiser Zeb Horrell said the idea behind the horse burning was came from a Swedish friend.

“We were just clearing sheds around the farm and we had a bunch of old wood and he had made a Swedish horse sculpture before out of hay. He wanted to build a wooden horse and I wanted to build something to base around it.”

Two horse structures have been constructed and both will be burnt over the course of the three-day festival.

Mr Horrell said he hoped to build on the inaugural event from last year and was already looking ahead to expanding the annual event each year.

The long-term plan for the festival included having food sourced from his farm, and only local produce.

This year, all stages and structures on the festival ground were built from materials on the farm.

Mr Horrell said he had always enjoyed entertaining guests on his family property and wanted to showcase the Southland area.

“I love this place. Right here is my favourite place in the world.

“It’s nice getting people in here as well as having a reason to build it up.”

Tickets for the festival are available online via

This article was originally written for The Otago Daily Times. You can read the published version here

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