Unbelievably its been 4 years since Kelly passed in 2016. He was a big part of many peoples lives and the mountain bike scene in New Zealand and Queenstown. This was the forth iteration of McGazza Fest and I think the formula was just right this year.
The Kelly McGarry Foundation have always wanted to honour and celebrate the life Kelly lived and this years McGazza Fest hit the nail on the head. Non-commercialised with no outside sponsors, free events, live bands, mega after party and of course plenty of shredding. It was a weekend Kelly would have lived for.
Over three days there was a Megatrain down the Queenstown Bike Park, a Chainless DH race down McNearly Gnarley, the Dream Track jump jam, memorial Fernhill loop ride and Gorge Road jump jam.
As always the turnout was huge for all events, but it seemed like it had stepped up to another level this year in terms of participants and spectators. Especially at the main event which is the Dream Track jump jam.
There were a bunch of top pros over this year, all guys Kelly influenced at one part of their careers. Including Carson Storch, Brett Rheeder, DJ Brandt, Tom Isted, Ethan Nell and Casey Brown all throwing down a big show for the crowd.
Being able to ride with these guys in a jam format like this is so special and something not a lot of us get to do day to day, so the stoke from the locals was high and the pros were loving it too. No pressure to perform just do what you want to do and have a good time doing it.
The best addition to the jam this year was the live band, local band "Bad News" rocked everyones socks off and the atmosphere was electric because of it. Its not very often you get to jump over a live band!
The whole evening had McGazza's name written all over it, if he was still here he would have been first person riding an last person to finish. He also would have moshed his heart out to the band harder than anyone else.
The evening finished off with a few beers and more moshing in Lone Star, with Bro Hymm by Pennywise played a few times which was probably enough as not sure the lodestar ceiling could have handled many more mosh pits.
For me it was a brilliant weekend of riding bikes with friends old and new and at no point was it lost that the whole weekend was to remember Kelly and nothing else. Long may this continue.