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New Zealand’s Best Little Art Festival

Wanaka’s  Festival of Colour, launched in 2005 , is an extraordinary display of national and international theatre, dance, music, visual arts and ideas and the 2019 programme offers more than 35 shows and events.

The biennial event, developed by celebrated festival director, Philip Tremewan, will be held this year from April 2 until April 7, with events spilling over into an additional four days.

Festival general manager, Laura Williamson, hopes a new generation of festival goers will embrace the opportunity and experience something that represents them.

“We are beyond excited to have a high calibre of performers coming to Wanaka including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and global baroque superstar Jordi Savall, who will give his final concert on his latest world tour, and his only New Zealand show.”

Four award-winning New Zealand theatre shows also feature including the highly rated one-woman show, My Best Dead Friend.

“It’s funny, clever and sad all at once, and contains multiple references to the Backstreet Boys, which is obviously an awesome thing,” she says. ““I’m also especially excited to have Nadia Reid coming – one of New Zealand’s best songwriters – and Finn Andrews of The Veils playing live in the Palace with a full band will be sublime.”

The jam-packed programme includes some unique street performances.

“This year we are taking the Festival of Colour to the streets and have expanded our free programme of street performers and art as we want to make sure everyone in the community, as well as visitors to our town, have a chance to be part of the festival,” says Laura.

“During the evenings of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of festival week, we encourage everyone to head into the streets and look upwards in the vicinity of Bullock Creek to see a dancer performing in a tree which should be spectacular.”

“On Saturday April 6 we will have everything from circus acrobats and dancers to a storyteller and an audio journey on offer in the centre of town,” she says. “If you are a redhead, you can make like Prince Harry and get yourself photographed for an upcoming book project. At the Lake Wanaka Centre an innovative street art project, featuring a creative labyrinth of constellations made from tape, will definitely be worth checking out.”

Laura believes the positive impact of the critically acclaimed Festival of Colour is tenfold for both the Wanaka community and visitors to the region.

“The festival has become a true visitor attraction and an iconic cultural event for the town. There is a very cool, creative vibe that we hope everyone comes out to enjoy.”

Sherwood Music Collab

A music collaboration with Sherwood in Queenstown is a significant spin-off for the 2019 Festival of Colour.

Performances by Laurence of Arabia, Finn Andrews and Estère are first being held in Wanaka at the Pacific Crystal Palace followed by sessions at Sherwood in Queenstown.

Festival of Colour general manager, Laura Williamson, says sharing musical talent between the two resorts is a bonus for music lovers.

“ We are really keen to support everyone getting to see these stand-out musicians and when the opportunity arose for Sherwood to host some breakout sessions in association with the festival, we jumped at it. The performance space at Sherwood is amazing and the venue is  well-known for its extensive music programme throughout the year, covering everything from soul, R’n’B funk, garage and Motown.”