Free Gigs to Rock City in the Festival of Carnivale

22 August 2011

Soul singer Hollie Smith and rockers Midnight Youth, together with local favourites The Phoenix Foundation and the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra will perform for free in the Festival of Carnivale during Rugby World Cup 2011.

Fans can catch the free gigs and other entertainment at the official Rugby Village FANZONE centred around the Wharewaka (canoe house) on Wellington's waterfront from 9 September - 9 October, as well as Courtenay Place during quarter-finals weekend (8 - 9 October).

Festival of Carnivale Producer Andy Scotland says the entertainment is all part of a fantastic line-up of 'off-the-field' events.

"The FANZONE will showcase a range of pre-match entertainment and performances on the purpose-built stage, and the big screen will show live coverage of all rugby games. It will be a hub of activity for fans eager to share in the excitement of the tournament."

It all kicks off on 9 September with an evening packed full of activity. The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra will perform before live coverage of the opening ceremony in Auckland and the New Zealand vs Tonga match.

From Wednesdays to Sundays, you can catch a range of performances on the stage. These will include anything from youth kapa haka, school bands, community groups and choir performances to music from the likes of Knives at Noon, The Nudge, The Beat Girls, X Ray Catz and Woolshed Sessions.

"As much as possible, performances will also pay homage to the teams that are playing. For example, before the Wales vs Samoa match, a Welsh choir and a Samoan cultural group will be performing on stage. Also, before the South Africa vs Namibia match, the distinctive sounds of the Affro Beat band will be heard warming up the crowd," says Andy.

"Stage performances won't take place on Mondays and Tuesdays - however, the area will be open in the evening so people can drop in, have a drink, sample some of the food on offer and soak up the atmosphere."

As well as screening rugby matches, the big screen will show contemporary New Zealand music videos as well as archival footage of Wellington, capturing significant events in time along with All Blacks teams through the ages.

Other entertainment at the FANZONE will include an Argentina Tango Bus, the Monster Burlesque Dance Troupe, stilt walkers, face painting, cheerleaders and alternative rugby commentary from Jedi.

The FANZONE is also the place for Festival of Carnivale events such as Illuma, which will transform buildings and structures around the waterfront with light and colour.

"We have over 150 events taking place in and around Wellington during the Festival. Major events include:

  • Port Nicholson's Festival of Sails
  • caricatures of the New Zealand French teams by a visiting French artist
  • a one-weekend-only sticky Tape Art mural on the side of Te Papa.

There's also a full street programme including Footnote Dance's 'Roll Out the Red Carpet', Java Dance, Funky Junk, Zirigidum and Batucada. "We've even got a weekend of sheep racing, wood chopping and sheep dog trials," says Andy.

Other sites for fans around the city include the Courtenay Place live site during quarter-finals weekend (8 - 9 October). Games will screen live and there will be live music from 12 noon until late on Saturday and Sunday nights.

A Civic Village site in the Town Hall and Civic Square will feature family-friendly entertainment, including community and multicultural groups, weekend screenings of the games, old movies and music.

A range of outdoor locations around the waterfront will also feature installations and street performances.

"The Festival of Carnivale is about more than just rugby," says Andy. "We have worked hard to ensure we have a diverse mix of music and performances that will appeal to both Wellingtonians and visitors alike.

"One thing is for sure, there will be plenty of entertainment for people to choose from in between games."

Daily event and fanzone listings will be available nearer the time.