It's Going to be a Long Fun Summer in the City

16 December 2011

Wellington's sultry, sensational tribute to the warmer months - the Summer City festival - is set to be another scorcher in the New Year.

And for 2012 there are a few changes - mainly experimental - to see whether the three-decade-old festival can be made even more spectacular and popular.

The Council's Sport and Events Portfolio Leader, Cr John Morrison, says it's been decided to kick Summer City off slightly later in January - from Wellington Anniversary Weekend. "Our collective experience over the past few years is that the weather can often be a bit dodgy early in January and that it settles down later on and into February and March.

Cr Morrison says the Summer City emphasis will also spread more from its Botanic Garden stronghold - with more events on the waterfront and in Island Bay.

He says he supports the move to a later start for the whole festival. "We've had quite a few Gardens Magic cancellations early in January over the years - and I do recall we even had a flash flood roar through the Botanic Gardens one year, with sound gear floating out into Glenmore Street. That tended to put a bit of a dampener on things.

"So it's all on in 2012 from Anniversary Weekend and going right through until the end of 'daylight saving'. Whether it's arts, culture, sports or music, Wellingtonians will be spoilt for choice," says Cr Morrison. 

ASB has again generously come on board to support the ever-popular ASB Gardens Magic concerts in the Botanic Garden.

A great line-up of acts has been confirmed for the nightly shows - which will run from 14 March to 25 March. "People will be able to head to the gardens, straight after work, and enjoy an hour and a half of quality music starting at the new time of 7.00pm, then end the evening with a stroll home through our beautiful Gardens Magic lighting features." Acts already confirmed for ASB Gardens Magic include The Roseneath Centennial Ragtime Band, singer-songwriter Justin Firefly and Irish band The Shenanigans. We'll be announcing more acts in the New Year.

ASB is also sponsoring the new 'Sunset Sessions' concerts to be held
3 to 11 March in Shorland Park, Island Bay. Cr Morrison says this is a chance for families to grab a picnic and get down to the seaside for balmy evenings of music and a possible dip across the road at the beach.

On Anniversary Weekend, Summer City kicks off with a busy range of festivals and events including Out in the Square (gay and lesbian fair), Capital E's Great Scavenger Hunt, the Birdman Competition and the Pasifika Festival.

"Those wanting a Pacific experience should head down to Waitangi Park on 21 January. There'll be great food, traditional performances and 'have-a-go' activities like Cook Island drumming and traditional craft making."

This year Wellingtonians will notice a stronger harbour theme to our events programme. Some of the highlights include the Waka showcase - with bands and kai - outside the new Wharewaka Te Raukura on Waitangi Day, the Chinese New Year Parade on the waterfront and Salsa at Sunset lessons on top of the Band Rotunda in Oriental Bay.

"There is so much happening in, on and around the harbour this coming summer. Wellingtonians can even get up close and personal with the crews and yachts from the Global Ocean Race. They arrive in Wellington from late December and will be here until 29 January."

For film buffs, there'll again be Films by Starlight outdoor screenings, in the Dell, in the Botanic Garden. It'll again be a mix of classics and new films "Bring a picnic and a blanket and come along and spend an evening watching films under the stars," says Cr Morrison.

Don't forget, as well as three months of amazing Council events, the NZ International Festival of the Arts will run from 24 February to
18 March and make sure you head along to the 2012 NZ Fringe Festival 10 Feb - 3 March.

Brochures with event listings for Summer City will be out on
13 January and you can follow event announcements, such as bands performing for ASB Gardens Magic. Check the Events section of this website for event details.

Key Event Dates

December and Early January arrival

Global Ocean Race - Queens Wharf

Friday 13 January

Summer City launch

Films by Starlight - in The Dell

Wed 18 Jan, Thurs 19 Jan, Wed 25 Jan, Thurs 26 Jan

Wellington Anniversary Weekend

Saturday 21 January
Pasifika Festival - Waitangi Park, 10.00am - 4.00pm

Saturday 21 January
Out in the Square - Civic Square, 11.00am - 5.00pm

Sunday 22 January
The Great Scavenger Hunt and Extravaganza - Capital E and Waterfront, 10.00am - 5.30pm

Monday 23 January
350 Birdman - Waterfront, 10.00am - 5.00pm

ASB Sunset Sessions - Concerts in Shorland Park, Island Bay

Same style event as ASB Gardens Magic but in a new venue, Shorland Park
New start time of 7.00pm

ASB Gardens Magic - concerts in The Soundshell, Botanic Garden

Same format as per previous years but a date change to March
New start time of 7.00pm

Daylight Savings finishes - Sunday 1 April