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Party ahead - Cuba St Carnival This Weekend

Attn: Chief reporters 25 February 2004

Party ahead

The countdown has begun, with organisers confident everything is ready for this weekend’s Cuba Street Carnival.

It will take over central Wellington, beginning with open air movie screenings on Friday night. Music begins 11.00 on Saturday morning.

The highlight? Saturday’s Illuminated Night Parade. Taking more than an hour to pass any point, the parade fiesta of music and dancing peaks with a float carrying the carnival king and queen (who won their titles in a competition at Pound Night Club).

Celebrated New Zealand bands Goldenhorse, Trinity Roots, the Black Seeds and Phoenix Foundation will appear on the Export Gold Stage. Other well-known performers include Fat Freddy’s Drop, the Warratahs, the Wayne Mason band and veteran kiwi music icon Chris Knox.

The carnival will feature national championships in bouldering (that’s wall-climbing) and seapa footbag (hackysack). In Te Aro park, the winners of the carnival’s ‘Revolutionary Architecture’ competition will assemble an art work that involves photocopying body parts of carnival-goers.

A ‘sound clash’ featuring four sound systems is believed to be the first time New Zealand has experienced the innovative ‘sound clash’ format when DJs compete against each other, taking turns to whip the audience into a frenzy.

Facts about the Cuba Carnival

- New Zealand’s largest free street festival.
- Centre of Wellington closes to traffic, with SH1 (Vivian and Ghuznee streets) closed for 48 hours.
- Around two thousand people involved in putting the carnival on: Performers, carnival staff, stall-holders, vendors, security…
- The Carnival is sponsored mainly by NZ Community Trust and Wellington City.
- Over 100 acts.
- Fifteen zones of entertainment.
- 2.5 km of music and entertainment.
- In 2002, an independent economic impact survey estimated almost 90,000 people watched the Night Parade. The majority were from outside Wellington City and almost fifty thousand carnival-goers came from outside the Wellington region.
- Sunday is Leap Day, when women propose to men and around 200 people in the Wellington region will celebrate a birthday that comes around only every four years.

Cuba Street, Dixon Street, and SH1 (Vivian and Ghuznee streets).
Drivers should expect lengthy delays on alternative routes, through the waterfront Southbound, off the motorway at Aotea Quay and northbound access through Cambridge Terrace).


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