Guess there is still work to be done when it comes to acceptance.

Festival One, a Christian festival been held at Mystery Creek Events Centre in Hamilton, this weekend, has been taking place for three years. However, the festival recently got itself into a major controversy.

Craig Watson, a gay Christian, was apparently part of a group who had applied to hold a stall at the festival. This stall aimed to“promote conversations around gender and sexuality with a faith”. According to Watson, the stall was approved as early as last year, however, as a twist of events, the stall organizers were told to pack up any gay, lesbian or transgender related things and leave as late as friday night.

“The Wilderpeople stand had a number of positive responses from Christians glad that these topics were being addressed,” Watson said in a statement to the Herald.


“This would mean they would be left in a stall with white walls and floor, with no way of identifying who they were or what they were promoting,” he said.

To maintain the peace, the group made the decision to remove all the material and adapt the wordings so that they appeared in a more generic format, making the site “unidentifiable”.

Watson, along with the group, even tried to reach a compromise with the festival organizers but were bluntly told there would be none. This unfortunately forced the group to leave the site.

Chief executive Graham Burt and Incendo released a joint statement to Fairfax saying:  “Incendo and Festival One state that the Wilderpeople Collective accepted that the Wilderpeople Collective could not meet expectations of Festival One organisers about what their presence in the Wilder Precinct should be. Therefore the Wilderpeople Collective decided to withdraw their stall.”