At the Rotorua Bike Festival, it's not just wheels turning

Matt Scoles at the National Downhill Championships. Photo: Alan Ofsoski The Rotorua Bike Festival is using a full range of communications to tell the story of biking in Rotorua and to promote all the individual events at the 10-day annual Festival that starts on Black Friday February 13 2015.

The latest member of the media team is local digital producer, Dabhand. They are building a smartphone app that will help get information out before and during the Festival.

The media and marketing side of the first Festival was kick-started two years ago by a team of small Rotorua businesses. Gary Sullivan from Nzo Industries, Graeme Murray, Nick Lambert from Zeroseven and Graeme Simpson from Bluedog media have over a hundred years of experience in all aspects of the media between them - from graphic and website design to journalism, social media, photography and television and video production. “And they probably have more combined years on their bikes,” said Martin Croft, from Rotorua Events and Venues, who is coordinating the Festival’s 30 events. “It’s wonderful to have another local company, Dabhand, added to that line-up.”

The Festival app will be free and available for both Apple and Android. It will provide a very convenient way for competitors and spectators to get easy access to information every day of the Festival. “You’ll be able to carry the full programme and a venue map in your pocket, on your smartphone,” continued Croft. “We’re planning daily competitions through the app and some other very cool features that we’ll unveil when we launch it.”

Bluedog Media is sponsoring the initial development. “It would be rude not to and tight budgets don't mean we can’t have some fun,” said Graeme Simpson, the Festival media and marketing coordinator. “The smell of an oily rag has often been a spur for innovation and creativity in the past work we've done together. We get involved in biking events because we love the sport and, in Rotorua, we can ride every day.”

The app will complement the Festival's existing digital channels. These include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a comprehensive website. “Facebook has been really successful, with all the numbers tripling from the first festival to the second,” Croft continued. “Our very hard-working photo team, Alan Ofsoski, Mead Norton, Peter Graney and Mike Vincent, provided images every day which meant albums were online almost immediately for people to view, world wide.” A third of the page’s followers are from outside New Zealand. The Festival also has its own TV ‘channel’ on Vimeo. Coverage will be enhanced in 2015 with the addition of another member to the team, video producer, John Colthorpe.