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Nelson Arts Festival Scales Back 2021 Programme

Nelson Arts Festival has made the difficult decision to cancel most of its 2021 programme of shows and events due to the continued impact of the Covid-19 Delta outbreak. At this stage, planning is continuing for a select number of events including Mask Carnivale, Night Vision and Pukapuka Talks.

From the very beginning of the planning period for the 2021 Festival, the Nelson Festivals Trust and Nelson Arts Festival Team developed contingency plans for various scenarios. With the advent of the recent Level 4 lockdown, the Team and Trust continued their exploration of every option, keeping the safety and wellbeing of the community as a priority.

With the majority of the programme involving artists from around the country, the ongoing lockdown restrictions make it impossible to present the 2021 programme as it was envisaged. The decision to cancel so many shows is not one made in isolation. Many of the shows were touring to other regional festivals throughout October – the sharing of shows is an essential part of the planning for all festivals, in terms of sharing workload, knowledge, resources and financial costs.

Chair of the Nelson Festivals Trust, Brent Thawley says, “The lockdown and alert level restrictions have impacted greatly on everyone in Aotearoa and have ongoing implications for the arts and events sector.

“Our decision to cancel events in the 2021 programme has been made now so that everyone - our artists, technicians, producers and makers, as well as our sponsors and supporters, and our audiences – all have clarity.

“Delaying the decision further would put the Nelson Festivals Trust at jeopardy and risk our ability to sustain support for artists, staff, venues and our community long term. By making this decision now, we are able to work through the ways we can support all these partners and particularly artists in this hugely challenging time.”

The leadership team of Co-Creative Directors Rose Campbell and Lydia Zanetti and Community and Education Director Shanine Hermsen are devastated at having to make this decision. “This year’s festival was all about coming together, connecting with each other anew and celebrating our community. Despite not being able to present the Festival we envisioned, we’re incredibly proud of the 2021 programme and all the extraordinary mahi that has gone into it from the Trust, team, venues, artists and community.”

The Festival is continuing with plans to present a locally focussed programme that honours the vision for 2021: Connection. This includes the outdoor community events, Night Vision (Thursday 21 Oct) and Mask Carnivale (Friday 29 Oct) alongside the outdoor concert at Neudorf Vineyards (band tbc), Pukapuka Talks and most of the visual arts exhibitions.

The Festival Trust and Team will continue to monitor the situation and make a further decision about the remaining 2021 programme in early October.

The Festival will be offering full refunds to those who have purchased tickets to cancelled shows and will be in direct contact early next week.

Cancelled shows/events are: Ko Te Ākau, Vanessa Worm, The Haka Party Incident, Walking:Holding, Flavio Plays Frahm, Soundtracks from the Silver Screen, Lucien Johnson Quartet, Reb Fountain, Rubi Du & PollyHill, KITA, James Roque, Pax Assadi, Ben Woods, imugi , The Artist, Thoroughly Modern Māui, Matala, Tierra y Mar Flamenco Project, Owls Do Cry, The Beths, Tami Neilson’s The F Word, Thabani Gapara, Pīpī Paopao, Dowp’dowdow, The Revelators, O & The Mo with Deluxe Band and DJ Tunesifter.

At this stage, events that are still going ahead are: Night Vision, Mask Carnivale, literary programme Pukapuka Talks, Through the Eye of Whakatū (photography exhibition in collaboration with Track Zero at Nelson Provincial Museum), Vicki Smith’s Repose and Samara Davis’ Ano Me He Wharepuungawerewere (exhibitions at Refinery ArtSpace), He Raranga Kōrero: Weaving Conversations (The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū), Couch Stories, PechaKucha, Nelson City Centre ArtWalk Tours, an outdoor concert at Neudorf Vinyard (band tbc), and Silver. Stone. Wood. Bone. (presented by Chamber Music New Zealand).

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