Cuba Street Festival Unleashed

25 February 2014

Wellington City Council and the City’s creative community are combining in a project designed to unleash the talent and attitude that defines Wellington as the Creative Capital.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Drew James on the Bucket Fountain in Cuba Mall

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown with the Festival Artistic Director on Cuba Street Bucket Fountain

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The Council has approved funding of $250,000 for the Creative Capital Arts Trust to produce an annual street festival based around the Cuba Street precinct.

The first festival will be held late March / early April next year.

The Trust’s chair, Tim Brown, said the festival would be participatory and showcasing of Wellington’s best creative talent.

“Fringe Festival, 7s, WOW, the Arts and Jazz Festivals, Wellington Film Festival, Homegrown, NZSO, NZO, a great theatre scene, and festivals such as those in Newtown and Island Bay underline the vibrancy of the arts scene and the willingness of people to dress up and participate both as audience and performers.

“Wellington City can look forward to a festival filled with creativity and fun, where Wellingtonians as well as national and international visitors can participate in a fantastic event,” said Mr Brown.

The Trust will soon be calling for proposals and setting up a core team to organise the first festival.  An artistic director has already been appointed. The current artistic director of WOMAD and the Taranaki Arts Festival, Drew James, will take up the appointment in early March.

“I jumped at this brilliant opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary creative energy that is centred in Wellington,” said Mr James. “The Cuba Street precinct is such a unique urban environment on which to unleash talent and create something fresh and new.”

Wellington’s Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, said the Council well understood the value of the “creative capital” brand to all Wellingtonians – audiences, performers and local businesses.

“I’m delighted we will have a street festival back in Cuba Street,” said Mayor Wade-Brown. “So that residents and visitors alike can enjoy the Cuba Quarter’s living fusion of artistic and built heritage.”