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CubaDupa Announces Full Festival Lineup of 1500 Performers

New CubaDupa App, Visual Arts Elements, and Accessibility Initiatives

WELLINGTON, NZ — Aotearoa’s most vibrant and creative free festival hits the streets of Wellington on 28 and 29 March—and has announced the full line up of musicians, parades, performers, stages, and new visual arts experiences. The weekend programme attracts thousands to the capital’s Cuba Street neighbourhood as a shared celebration of creativity and community.

Organisers have also announced several exciting festival initiatives, including a new free CubaDupa App which will enable audiences to plan and customise their weekend, eliminate wasteful printing, and lessen environmental impact. The user-friendly smartphone programme has features such as artist profiles, food options, maps and wayfinding, accessibility information, and the complete festival schedule. The CubaDupa app will be available for both the iPhone and Android platforms before the festival.

The full programme announcement reveals New Zealand’s most creative festival experience: 450 individual shows, 1500 performers, over a dozen stages and zones, and 120 food vendors. The Wellington Company Intergalactic Zone in Hannahs Courtyard on Leeds Street will feature an array of musical ensembles—from Eastern European folk band Klezmer Rebs to the Caribbeanz Southern Stars Steelband. Orchestra Wellington perform Terry Riley's minimalist masterpiece 'In C' each day, as a mesmerizing musical experience for everybody. Porirua’s Virtuoso Strings, comprised of young musicians from Western and Pasifika cultures, will charm the Intergalactic Zone, and Rhysonic will wow audiences with a truly unique sonic invention that has been described as a musical Rube Goldberg machine.

Throughout the day ensembles will parade through Leeds Street, including Ngā Taiohi o Te Rāwhiti o Te Ūpoko o Te Ika Kapa Haka Group, Alien Junk Monsters, and the festival’s big band bass powerhouse CubaTuba. Pump Dance will present Trip Down Penny Lane, a magical mystery tour of Beatles music and modern dance. And Capital City Big Band, joined by dancers Sugarfoot Stomp, will bring out the swing. After dark, experimental band Boat will light up the sky with the polyphonic Tesla coil Chime Red, in a fascinating and high-energy display of lightning arcs, pure voltage, and controlled sound. Coding genius Josh Bailey, inventor of Chime Red, will also present Coilstep, an 8-bit high voltage electronica experience just for CubaDupa audiences. .

The festival has also announced the Kāpura Carnival & Cabaret Zone, located in the Wilson car park on Ghuznee Street, as a new venue for circus, cabaret, and burlesque. New programming for all ages includes circus workshops from The Circus Hub, utterly ridiculous fortune teller Moira Mackenzie, colourful candyfloss, free face painting, and so much more. Audiences will step inside the CubaDupa big top—aptly named The Mammoth tent—to find quick-fire circus, interactive experiences, and cabaret shows. Performances will include shows by Humorous Arts, stunt masters 3 Speed Crunch Box, The Circus Hub, Colossal Cabaret, and Rollicking Entertainment. By night, the venue will feature outrageous and thrilling shows for adults— including Wellington’s Hugo Grrrl's Glitter Gang and Philadelphia-based cabaret group, The Bearded Ladies.

In partnership with Asia New Zealand Foundation, CubaDupa has announced exciting cultural programming from across Asia. Melbourne based duo George & Noriko will return to Wellington for to present their blend of bluegrass hard country blues with a unique Japanese twist. Gamelan Taniwha Jaya, a group of Wellington musicians dedicated to the performance of Javanese music, will present a traditional percussion orchestra for CubaDupa. Taiwanese-born Nikita Tu-Bryant will debut her psychedelic dream-pop band KITA, and Auckland based electronic duo Imugi will explore the identities and complex issues that migrant women of colour face—through R&B, synth-pop, funk and spoken word like you’ve never heard. Traditional Japanese drumming group Taikoza complete the programme, alongside Dragon Dancers from the Wellington Chinese Sports and Cultural Centre and a Lion Dance Troupe from the Anglican Chinese Mission.

Spontaneity and surprise are a hallmark of the CubaDupa experience. From the makers behind the delightful Hugging Tree costume as seen at CubaDupa 2019, comes Garden Friends—an absurd roaming character involving an oversized gnome and a giant rooster. Shower singers and hairbrush crooners can let it all out at the Karaoke Cupboard on Dixon Street, an interactive project developed by Nick Shackleton. Festival-goers will be invited inside a small box to perform a favourite song, as live video projections beam the performance to onlookers.

New programming has also been announced in partnership with Counter Journal magazine and viral social media blog Shit You Should Care About. Audiences can attend a lively panel discussion at Te Auaha exploring The Art of Storytelling—a light-hearted two-way interview addressing slow vs. fast journalism and why they share stories that matter. The Sunday programme kicks off in a big way with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, joined by local musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds, and a performance of four short energetic and exhilarating works. The opening performance will feature Cuba on Cuba by Kiwi composer Claire Scholes—a work inspired by the sounds and legendary party atmosphere of the street. Wellington musicians are invited to be part of the experience, and play along with the orchestra, and those interested can email for more information.

CubaDupa has also announced an abundance of new visual arts programming, including four public art projects highlighting immigrant experiences from Asia, Africa and South America. Curators of Cuba, in partnership with Mark Amery and Art Explore will offer a roving look at the mavericks behind a dozen Cuba Street galleries—including Bowen Galleries, McLeavey Gallery, public spaces like Enjoy Contemporary Art Space and Roar, and innovative micro galleries like The See Here and The Nomadic Art Gallery. Barbarian Productions will present an interactive piece of Kiwiana in the form of a giant Kiwifruit. Tape Art’s street installations will enliven walls and footpaths using their trademark live tape drawing. Other CubaDupa visual arts elements include the Shaky Ground Art Collective, a massive SupaCubaDupa exhibition featuring 30 local artists at Potocki Paterson Gallery, and live UV installation from the surreal pop mind of Stephen Templer.

Accessibility and audience accommodation have become a major focus at CubaDupa. The festival has developed a range of accessibility efforts, including an audio and video tour of the site for those with vision or hearing impairment. The festival will also have dedicated drop off and pick up points, two Chill Zones, and a Touch Tour for festival goers who are blind or have low vision. Visit to learn more.

In a few weeks, the largest and most creative CubaDupa ever will take over the Te Aro neighbourhood in Wellington as a beautiful disruption. The two-day festival will feature over 450 individual shows, 1500 performers from near and far, parades and visual arts, 120 food vendors, and a new smartphone app to keep track of it all. To browse the complete lineup for CubaDupa 2020, visit

In light of the world-wide Coronovirus outbreak, festival organisers are monitoring all local public safety advisories from the Ministry of Health and major funding bodies. No cases have been identified in the Wellington Region, but CubaDupa advises those who feel unwell to stay home or seek medical attention, and will provide on-site hand sanitation stations, ample rubbish collection, and a central first aid hub.

The 2020 CubaDupa Festival is made possible by major partners WellingtonNZ, Wellington Regional Amenities Fund, Wellington City Council, Massey University College of Creative Arts, Creative New Zealand, The Wellington Company, Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington International Airport, Kāpura/Wellington Hospitality Group, Wellington Community Trust, Asia New Zealand Foundation, Lion Foundation, Cato Brand Partners, and the Embassy of the United States of America. The festival is generously supported by key partners Havana Coffee Works, SuperColour, Gibson Sheat, Moore Wilson, Willis Bond, Light House Cinemas, Bekon Media, Garage Project, Russell McVeagh, Four Winds Foundation, ANZ, Australian High Commission, Embassy of Ireland, Performing Arts Foundation of Wellington, KPMG, Infinity Foundation, ZM, Wellington Management Group / The Park Hotel, Go Media, and Taylor Hamling Web Design.

CubaDupa 2020 Teaser Video





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