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Countdown begins for TV2 Cuba St Carnival

24 September 2002

Immediate release

Countdown begins for TV2 Cuba St Carnival

The countdown is on for New Zealand’s largest free street festival.

The TV2 Cuba Street Carnival has confirmed its 2003 dates. It will take over the heart of Wellington’s entertainment district on 21-23 February 2003.

The carnival will be formally launched in the first week of December when major artists and the full format for the carnival will be announced.

New features of the carnival in 2003 will include the introduction of a ZM stage where some of New Zealand’s most commercially successful bands will play and the introduction of tiered seating around the main stage where carnival-goers will be able to watch headline New Zealand bands.

A ‘reggae sound clash’ will be a New Zealand first for the carnival, where four of New Zealand’s top reggae sound systems compete in turns to perform over four separate sound systems in a single square.

Leading performers for the three-day event are being confirmed for all fourteen stages and zones. These include stages dedicated to big beats (DJs, house, hip-hop, funk and a purpose-built skate park), jazz and Latino, blues, world music and ten of the best local and international buskers. An outdoor film fiesta will screen on the opening night, showing a feature and a selection of New Zealand shorts.

The highlight of the carnival is the spectacular night parade on Saturday night.

Set up in 1998, the TV2 Cuba St Carnival is a celebration of New Zealand music and creativity. It’s estimated that last year the Carnival attracted 160,000 people. Almost three quarters were aged under 40. Although it’s based on the unique personality of Wellington’s Cuba Street, the event drew more than half of its audience last year from outside Wellington, with even greater numbers expected in 2003. Some 15,000 were estimated to have come from overseas.

Carnival El Capitan Chris Morley-Hall said the carnival has confirmed fantastic sponsorship support in a tough sponsorship market.

“TV2 and the ZM network have confirmed their support and TV2 has secured naming rights. Their support means we’ll have great performers on stage and it provides a brilliant opportunity for New Zealand musicians and artists.”

Wellington residents are likely to notice the way the carnival takes over the Cuba Street area. The carnival is being extended into Courtenay Place to include ‘Pigeon Park.’

The carnival has grown so large that special measures will need to be introduced from next year to guarantee pedestrian safety. Carnival organisers are working with Wellington City Council and Transit New Zealand on a plan that may involve the closure of State Highway 1 at Vivian Street and Ghuznee Street.

“Without closing State Highway 1 the carnival may be too big for the available area. We are working with roading authorities to plan the safest and most practical solution. We want to ensure that families are totally safe at the carnival and traffic flows are handled in the best possible way,” Chris Morley-Hall said.


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