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Party Capital gears up for huge weekend

28 June 2005

Party Capital gears up for huge weekend

Wellington will truly live up to its reputation as the Party Capital this weekend with city-wide music and entertainment planned for the thousands of visitors flocking to the city for the British and Irish Lions vs All Blacks Test Match.

Wellington City Council has enlisted the support of some of the best local performers to create a festive atmosphere spread throughout the city.

“This weekend will be one of the biggest parties the city has ever seen!” says Mayor Kerry Prendergast. “This is an opportunity to showcase our distinctive Wellington creative talent and brand of fun to an international audience.”

Courtenay Place will be closed to traffic from 7pm Friday night through to early Sunday morning and the entire precinct will host a variety of music, street performances and roaming entertainment.

The festivities kick off with top indie pop/rock Wellington band Ghostplane and soulful singer Deva Mahal with her five-piece band who will perform from the lofty heights of the Paramount Theatre’s new balcony from 8.40pm.

A DJ booth on Manners Mall will see some of Wellington’s popular talent, including Barnaby Weir of the Black Seeds, spinning tunes non-stop on Friday night and then for a 12-hour stint from midday to midnight on Saturday.

And the music will be everywhere – The Whopper Chopper Sound System – a travelling DJ booth connected to, and powered by, eight of the coolest chopper bikes in town will be seen around the city streets. The iconic Whopper Chopper crew will act as party ambassadors and will be handing out Party Guides showing people how to get into the action in all four quarters of the city.

“Anyone who is planning a night out this weekend needs to pick up one of these guides from places like Walkwise personnel, tourism outlets and hotels,” says Mayor Prendergast. The Party Guide has information on what bars and venues have planned for the big weekend.

Kiwi comedy will hits the streets from midday on Saturday with buskers from around the country getting the crowd going with spectacular stunts and raucous antics. Christchurch’s crazy Motley Two (complete with mullets and mohawks and…ladders!), Wellington’s hilarious Mr Fungus and Auckland’s daring Shamus will take it in turns to keep the crowd in fits of laughter on the buskers pitch at the corner of Courtenay Place and Tory Street.

At 3.30pm the RNZAF Jazz Band will play from a stage on Courtenay Place and to get the crowds ready for the pre-match haka, the powerful Kapa Haka group from Mana College will perform. The Wellington Pipe Band will play with a 22-strong troupe marching from Courtenay Place to the stadium via the Waterfront.

And no-one will miss out on seeing the game - a huge 40-foot big screen on Courtenay Place will play the game live for those not heading off to the stadium. Tickets are still available for the Big Screen Blackout – a free family event at the Michael Fowler Centre with entertainment starting at 5pm followed a by a live screening of the Test Match. (Tickets from MFC Ticketek outlet only).

The driving rhythms of the Batucada Band will rev up the tempo after the game as they lead the crowd back along the Waterfront and into Courtenay Place. Other roaming musicians including Wellington Brass Band, Wellington Carnival Street Band and jazz group Night Train who will provide great atmosphere as people wander between bars, restaurants and venues.

Some of Wellington’s hottest bands will take to the stage with a line-up that includes funk band The Aviators, followed by The Reveals, finishing up just passed midnight with Wellington’s much loved OdESSA.

A large percentage of bars in the city are erecting marquees and have planned entertainment to ensure that the entire city will be absolutely buzzing. A special liquor ban will be in place in the central city from 5pm Friday 1 July until 6am Sunday 3 July.

“We want to make sure that people can party safely,” says Mayor Kerry Prendergast. “Police will be enforcing the ban that prevents people from carrying open bottles or drinking alcohol in the streets.”

“The atmosphere in the city will be electric – it will be a party that no-one will want to miss out on,” says Mayor Kerry Prendergast. “And the party zone is the entire city – so get out and enjoy the Cuba, Willis, Lambton and Courtenay Quarter parties!”


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