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Wellington Set To March To The Tune Of Live Performances

Whether it’s drum and bass or the dulcet tones of classical music, Wellingtonians are gagging for live events with tickets for a range of events flying out the door.

All 1400 tickets to Breaking Beats drum & bass gig sold out within minutes – many to people outside the Wellington region – with promoters now looking at expanding to the TSB Arena.

A series of planned concerts by Orchestra Wellington pulled on the heartstrings of classical music lovers with free tickets quickly snapped up and hundreds of people on the waitlist.

And touring Kiwi artists are proving irresistible to Wellington’s live music-loving community with sold out shows confirmed in some of the city’s most loved venues.

It reveals Wellington’s events sector is poised for a post-Covid comeback and ready to reclaim its position as the country’s coolest live performance city.

Before Covid-19's impact, domestic visitors contributed about $1.7 billion to Wellington’s economy, with music and cultural events being a major drawcard for all kinds of visitors to the capital. Sold out shows and venues over the next couple of months show the public is eager to get back to enjoying live music.

WellingtonNZ Events and Experiences General Manager Warrick Dent says the events sector has been hit hard by the impact of Covid-19. The Government’s move to Alert Level 1, which relaxes all mass gathering restrictions, is a lifeline for the industry and region.

“Wellington’s events sector is crucial to the region’s recovery. It’s a key driver of regional tourism and supports many of our small businesses who collaborate with the industry.

“The team has been busy fielding enquiries from promoters and artists wanting to book our venues. With our borders still restricted, most enquiries are for New Zealand content, but international promoters are also making contact as they anticipate the opportunities that a travel bubble with Australia will provide.

“Our major events and venues teams are working hard to confirm an impressive line-up of events and entertainment and bringing people back into the city and our venues.”

There was whirlwind interest in the Breaking Beats drum and bass event at Shed 6 on 25 July with 1400 tickets sold in minutes. Demand was so impressive, organisers are eyeing up the larger TSB Arena, gauging interest on their Facebook page.

Breaking Beats promoter Chris Keimig says there's a sense of relief that they and the productions businesses they work with can get back to business and can be successful with exclusively New Zealand artist lineups.

“The risk of not selling all the tickets for this first event post-lockdown was that we could take a big loss on top of having no income for the last few months, but it’s a great feeling knowing people are ready to come back out and experience live music again.

“The awesome thing about these large events is how they involve so many local companies from production teams, to bar staff, to security. Even the restaurants and hotels that are used for people coming into the city will get a boost.”

Looking at where ticket sales are coming from, Mr Keimig says the show will bring in hundreds of people from outside the Wellington region, including Auckland, Otago, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki.

Orchestra Wellington announced six free shows to audiences in June, with all 600 tickets snapped up within a couple of days.

Orchestra Wellington manager Kirsten Mason says they’ve got waitlists for the shows and will increase audience sizes now the Government has lifted mass gathering restrictions.

The six free shows at St Andrew’s on the Terrace begin as Orchestra Wellington launch ticket sales for Classical on Cuba, a creative partnership with the CubaCupa and WellingtonNZ, which will see 20 ensembles play more than 100 events in 15 venues along Cuba St on 27-28 June.

“Not only do our musicians want to play, but you can feel how eager people are to come and enjoy live music and experiences in the city post-lockdown.

“We were just so delighted to see the tickets [for the St Andrew’s gigs] snapped up so fast. Our concerts are usually pretty popular, but this was definitely a record for us.”

Meanwhile, Wellington CBD venues San Fran and Meow have reported heavy ticket sales for touring New Zealand artists including Finn Andrews (The Veils) and Reb Fountain.

© Scoop Media

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