Art Events Queenstown

Stage set for Whakatipu Music Festival

Written by Jane Brooke

An exclusive platform for up-and-coming New Zealand musicians to display their talent, alongside professional artists, is set to delight music lovers in Queenstown during Easter 2022.

The Whakatipu Music Festival marries high-performance artists, community engagement and local workforce capability with showcase performances from world-class New Zealand musicians, emerging artists, and local talent.

The festival was created in 2021 following the cancellation of the world-renowned Michael Hill International Violin Competition (MHIVC) and is supported by the MHIVC Trust, CreativeNZ,  Central Lakes Trust, Community Trust South and the Queenstown Lakes District Council. 

“In these incredibly difficult times we’re also so thankful to have support from our sponsors Craigs Investment Partners, David Reid Homes, Nockie’s Palette Wines and Starkwhite, who have returned for a second year,” says festival executive director Anne Rodda.

From a nation-wide audition, 12 talents aged from 18 – 28 will take part alongside leading New Zealand artists. These next generation superstars each have a public performance, broadcast to a national and international audience through Radio NZ concert and The Violin Channel.

In addition to four days of outstanding classical and jazz performances, workshops and mentor programmes, this year sees the introduction of traditional musical instruments where contemporary quartet Tararua combines Taonga Pūoro (Māori instruments) with waiata, karakia and pūrākau (story) and western instruments. 

“This year’s festival will go ahead because it’s so important for creatives in the current situation,” says Anne. ” Extensive work has gone into the year’s event to ensure it takes place safely yet delivers full artistic merit.”

But the Whakatipu Music Festival is not solely for professional musicians. 

Anne says a much larger focus includes community workshops, providing professional development and teacher training. The festival is delivered and run by apprentices, supported by veteran industry professionals, through a capability-building programme, designed to build levels of artistically experienced management staff in the region. 

She says the success of last year’s apprentice programme is evident.

“Our 2021 apprentice stage manager Karis Vernon returns this year to work with us as the operations manager, going from apprentice to teacher. We’re excited to build another team of brilliant apprentices and professionals delivering this year’s festival.”

“Working with local event production companies TomTom has also illustrated to us that this festival is a life ring for more than just local musicians and brings  jobs, income and fees that are much needed for the district’s creative industries right now.”

“In these incredibly difficult times we’re also so thankful to have support from our sponsors Craigs Investment Partners, David Reid Homes, Nockie’s Palette Wines and Starkwhite, who have returned for a second year.”

Madeleine Pierard

Anne says change is a key theme behind this year’s Whakatipu Music Festival. 

“Here in Aotearoa like much of the world we’re in a collective process of change, unfolding with rare intensity and speed yet also full of peaceful moments and familiar joys,” she says. “Finding beauty in change often means drilling down to the smallest of things. There’s an English expression that ‘big things come in small packages’ but I prefer the Te Reo metaphor ‘Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu’  which means ‘despite being small, it is pounamu’. Small, bespoke and intimate are how we keep and celebrate what is precious and treasured. The festival knows this and has intimate built into its very core.”

About the author

Jane Brooke