Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Event overload

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After the torpor of the Christmas/New Year period, when Wellington went into its usual summer ghost-town mode, we're now firmly into event-mad festival and party season. X*Air got things kicked off a couple of weeks back, and the Gardens Magic concert series at the Soundshell kept things humming along, but things really start to go mad this weekend. The Wellingtonista is on to it, as usual, with posts on the Chinese New Year celebrations and the Sevens. But anyway, here's a brief overview of just the most prominent events that will help relieve you of your spare time (and cash) over the coming weeks:

Today (Thursday February 2): Sevens Parade
Starts at Parliament at 12:45pm and heads to Civic Square via the usual route (you can tell its a celebration because it goes north to south: protests go the other way). Get yourself a good vantage point for cheering or drooling, depending upon your predilections.

Friday-Saturday February 3-4: Sevens Tournament
Some people are going to great lengths to prepare costumes for the event. Others would be advised to avoid any pub north of about Queens Wharf for the duration.

Monday February 6: One Love
Dubophiles will trek off to the Hataitai velodrome to celebrate Bob Marley's birthday with the Black Seeds, Cornerstone Roots and The Mighty Asterix. The press release also promises "lush greenery", but of course they're referring to the sylvan surroundings (right, mon). The more civic-minded among you might prefer to celebrate Waitangi Day at Frank Kitts Park, and don't miss Gretchen Albrecht and Jeffrey Harris at the City Gallery: this is the last day.

Friday February 10 - Saturday 5 March: Wellington Fringe Festival
I haven't even begun to investigate the cornucopia of arty eventage that's exploding across Wellington during the Fringe, but the free opening night party (9pm at The Paramount) seems like the place to start. Path Light (outdoor lighting installations that "explore the psychological possibilities of night wandering" at "unexpected points where the utilitarianism of urban space meets the wilderness of nature") definitely appeals to the flâneur in me, and the waterfront Busking Showcase (from 6pm) sounds hard to miss (no matter how hard you try).

Saturday February 11: Chinese New Year celebrations
Featuring an Asian Market at everyone's favourite Events Centre (11-3), a parade from Courtenay Place to Taranaki Wharf (2-3) and cultural entertainment at Frank Kitts Park (3-5:30). The market will include stalls from Monsoon Poon and Chow (alongside presumably more authentic providers), so that should keep us "suckas" happy. No fireworks this year (drat).

Sunday February 12: Hula Laguna and the Late Night Luau
Tiki Tiki Tiki!

Monday February 13: Massive Piña Colada-induced hangover

Thursday February 16: Hexstatic at the Lagoon
Ninja Tunes' finest AV-meisters Hexstatic get set to astound your eardrums and retinas at Frank Kitts lagoon from 9-11pm. They've worked with everyone from Faithless to David Byrne, and were responsible for Coldcut's famous Timber video. They've played at the Lisbon Expo and the Guggenheim Bilbao: don't miss them here.

Saturday February 18: nothing on, so a chance to relax
Yeah, right! There's Fricnic in Frank Kitts Park from 11 to 3, the optimistic-sounding Festival of the Sun at midday in the Dell, Bitchcraft Twilight Carnival in Aro Park from 7pm, and Freakin' in the Cemetery at Bolton St Cemetery from 8:30pm. Given the location and Mr Freak's track record, I'd say this is not one for the kids.

Friday February 24 - Saturday March 19: NZ International Arts Festival
'Nuff Said.

Saturday February 25: Capital Celebration
It's disappointing to learn that stage one of Waitangi Park won't be entirely complete in time for this, but from the look of recent progress, at least the main lawn will be lush and ready for this concert (1-2:30). With The Phoenix Foundation, The Warratahs, and the sponsor-friendly Vector Wellington Orchestra, they've certainly covered their bases,

Tuesday March 7: the launch of Len Lye's Water Whirler
It's been a long time in planning, and it's no secret that I've been looking forward to this. But why did they have to hold it on Quiz Night?!?

Saturday March 18: The Final Fling
The last weekend of the Arts Festival sees another big family-friendly event from 1 to 4pm in Waitangi Park. One more chance to see Fat Freddy's Drop (just in case you're not all Freddied out by now) and less predictably, the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines.


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