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CubaDupa Returns To Pōneke In 2024 - Find Your Wild!

The biggest street festival in Aotearoa is coming back for another year of artistic expression and community celebration. CubaDupa will again be gracing the Cuba Street precinct on Saturday 23 – Sunday 24 March, 2024. Famed for its diverse, boundary-pushing lineups, next year’s festival will include a range of acts from musicians, street performers, art installations, food vendors, diverse cultural experiences, circus acts, to just about anything imaginable.

Next year’s theme is all about Finding Your Wild: be that dressing up with your whānau and friends, discovering an exciting new genre or artist, roaming the streets alongside the festival’s renowned parades, or chancing upon an activation that transforms Cuba Street as you know it.

Festival Director, Drew James, says: “There is a big focus on bringing our audience along for the creative ride, with opportunities to take, participate, perform, dress-up and Find Your Wild. The audience will be encouraged to join dance parades down the streets. We are working with BodyFX to host BodyPalooza, a national bodypainting competition that will include a public parade and final showdown on the Main Stage. We are also creating the first ever Uke-a-Dupa, featuring over 20 ukulele groups throughout the festival streets, culminating in a mass performance.”

With the support of Creative New Zealand, CubaDupa is once again putting together an exceptionally diverse artistic line-up of New Zealand artists. The Ngā Toi o Te Aro programme is shaping up to celebrate the origins of Te Aro Park with a contemporary programme and line-up of Maōri artists. Ngā Toi o Te Aro is supported by Te Māngai Pāho with a focus on the use of Te Reo Maōri and indigenous music.

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Musicians for the 2024 festival range from solo to mass groups, covering everything from electronic, rock, folk, to experimental hip hop, a big band soul train, Pasifika metal and Maōri neo-soul. With the festival’s first lineup announcement due late Jan 2024, the CubaDupa team are excited to give a sneak peak of the creativity to come.

Five-piece Polynesian Metal Band, Shepherds Reign will be bringing their unique, genre-bending approach to music to CubaDupa 2024. With their cultural roots in Samoa, Aotearoa and Asia, Shepherds Reign expertly blend the power of metal music with the mana of the Pacific. Shepherds Reign is taking the Aotearoa metal scene by storm, having recently won prizes at the Pacific Music Awards in 2021 and 2022. This year, Shepherds Reign debuted their live show in Samoa, headlining a show at Le Manumea Hotel and playing in the Teuila Festival.

Also joining the CubaDupa stages is the collaboration of Pollyhill x Samara Alofa with their debut duo piece, ‘AQUARIES’. PollyHill is a Tāmaki-based self-taught producer and vocalist. Her 'lo-fi alternative trip hop' sound is created using cinematic samples, multilayered word play, and instinct based production. Samara Alofa (Ngāti Awa, Samoa, Tonga, German/Pākēha) is a child of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, and a multidisciplinary performance and sound-based artist. Their work revolves around themes of decolonization, exploring the liberation of body, spirit, gender, land, and self through both thematic and sonic means. Together, 'AQUARIES' combines warped synths and orchestral strings with assaultive drum patterns.

Other Futures Big Band is a streamlined, shape-shifting, pulsating musical organism with relentless groove, led and arranged by the masterful Daniel Hayles. Boogie down to this 20-piece band featuring the who’s who of the Pōneke music scene, as they channel and claim America’s Soul Train R&B, soul, and hip hop sensations into a CubaDupa Mass music extravaganza, complete with dancers.

Experimental hip-hop artist, WHO SHOT SCOTT by Zaidoon Nasir based in Tāmaki Makaurau is also set to perform his explosive and engaging live show at CubaDupa 2024. After opening for genre heavyweights such as Snoop Dogg and Yung Gravy along with a headline tour across Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, WHO SHOT SCOTT has organically built a loyal international fanbase, with the majority of his listeners currently based in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. The WHO SHOT SCOTT project, dripping with grit, noise and dance beats will undoubtedly electrify the Cuba precinct streets.

Aotearoa born, indigenous artist Jordyn with a Why, joins the festival with muses on language reclamation, identity and cultural heritage through an ethereal R&B lens. Descending from Whāingaroa, Mulifanua Lalovi, Falelatai and Vaimoso, stories weave and shape her music. Jordyn was a finalist for this year’s Pacific Music Awards’ Best Pacific Female Artist and had her first Māori language release ‘Raumati’ land as a top three finalist for the 2023 APRA Maioha Award.

BodyFX’s nationwide body paint competition, BodyPalooza, will also be presenting its final heats at CubaDupa next year. On Saturday 23 March, body painters from across the motu will be doing live painting of their models on the streets of the Cuba precinct. All are invited to come watch and admire the talents of the makeup artists bringing their visions to life. For the BodyPalooza grand finale, the models will parade their new looks down the streets and finish up with a showcase on a CubaDupa stage. . This unique display of talent is not one to be missed!

In addition to the homegrown talent joining next year’s celebrations, CubaDupa will also be featuring international music and street theatre artists from France, UK, Korea and Australia. To give audiences a taste, the programme includes French artists Franck Vigroux and Antoinne Schmit coming to our shores with support from the Embassy of France in New Zealand to present their immersive work ‘Cascades’.

Cascades features electronic music by Franck Vigroux and generative video by Antoine Schmitt. Vigroux creates music made of tectonic tensions, beats, electronic textures and sonic exploration. Schmitt is an installation artist who creates digital artworks that interrogate the dynamic interactions between human nature and the nature of reality. Cascades is an audiovisual project inspired by the concept of waterfalls, represented by flows of pixels whose movements are generative, meaning, never the same.

All of this would not be possible without one of CubaDupa’s core funders, Wellington City Council, who have played a vital role in bringing CubaDupa back to the streets of Pōneke. The Council’s annual support of the arts festival has allowed thousands of local, national, and even international artists to find new audiences for their work. CubaDupa has proven its reputation as a key event of the summer calendar in Pōneke, and regularly draws crowds of more than 100,000 people into the city.

Keep your eyes peeled for the first official line-up release in late January 2024. Book CubaDupa into your calendars now and invite your whānau and friends to join the celebration on 23 – 24 March 2024 in Pōneke.

© Scoop Media

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