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Kokomai Creative Wairarapa Festival Begins Today

Kokomai Creative Wairarapa Festival Begins Today

The Wairarapa’s rural halls, churches, theatres and parks will come alive with music, theatre, dance, visual arts, film andliterature for the next 10-days following the opening of Kokomai: Creative Festival Wairarapa today.

The programme which features over 65 events opens this evening at the Carterton Events Centre with a double billing of the theatre show Valerie and a colourful and entertaining performance by Aotearoa drag queen legends Bertha the Beast, Buckwheat and Tess Tickle in the show One Night Only. However audiences in Masterton today, were treated to a taster at lunchtime with a performance by Melbourne based trio Glen Walton (double bass), Miles O’Neil (guitar) and JOF (drums) who are performing the black comedy The Ballad of Backbone Joe in the rural settlements of Tinui and Pirinoa this weekend. The trio, who entertained the crowd at sponsors Eastwood Motor Group with a selection of songs from the show, say they are looking forward making their Wairarapa debut. They were also thrilled to hear the Pirinoa show had sold out and that only a small number of tickets were available for the Tinui show this Saturday night.

Kokomai festival director Heidi Holbrook says this year’s world class festival programme brings top New Zealand performers, artists and writers to the Wairarapa, alongside international artists from Germany, Switzerland, USA, Australia, Canada and Ireland.

“Compiling the programme has taken two years of work – we wanted to make sure we have the best acts this October and we can proudly say we do,” she says.

The inaugural Kokomai festival was held in 2013 and since then support for the event has grown significantly. During Kokomai 2015, 5000 people enjoyed the entertainment and this year festival organisers are looking to grow those numbers further. Ms Holbrook thanked the festival’s sponsors, patrons, volunteers, her organising team and audiences and says Kokomai 2017 promises to delight.

Following tonight’s opening shows, this weekend is packed with events including a free community event - The Capital E Bloom Garden, presented by Jennian Homes. This creative experience for children and their families is being held in three locations - the Greytown Town Hall Square, Martinborough Town Square and Masterton Town Hall Square and will see kids use thousands of identical pink pieces of plastic to make whatever they wish.

“This is about letting children’s’ imaginations run wild and giving them a chance to connect, construct and deconstruct 3D installations with no rules,” says Ms Holbrook. “It’s a great way to introduce children to sculpture and design.”

Other festival highlights include Otto and Astrid: Eurosmash! an hilarious art rock and Europop show from which is expected to appeal to fans of Spinal Tap or Flight of the Conchords and Julia Deans and leading kiwi musician SJD’s show “The Saddest Songs in the Universe”. Another highlight will be Paeakau, The Opera which is a unique combining of classical voice, traditional Maori singing, and Te Reo Maori and English narration to an electric guitar and taonga puoro soundscape. It was commissioned by the Wairarapa Arts Festival Trust specifically for Kokomai 2017 and performed by Greytown soprano Holly Winterwood and Zac Winterwood.

The full programme, including the Hedley’s Readers and Writers programme, is available at www.kokomai.co.nz or via Facebook/kokomaicreativefestival. Tickets are available from the Wellington and Wairarapa i-SITES and throughwww.eventfinda.co.nz.

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