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SlavFest 2024 - A Unique New Festival Celebrating Eastern European Communities

SlavFest 2024 is announcing its line-up of entertainment performances for its free all day (10-6pm) cultural festival of Slavic, Balkan and Eastern European cultures.

The SlavFest Education Charitable Trust was established to educate the public of Wellington and New Zealand about the cultures, languages, arts and traditions of the Slavic communities and unite our Slavic communities together through common history, geography and culture. This is especially important and relevant now, at a time of continuing strife in Europe. SlavFest will be peaceful and non-political.

At SlavFest 2024 we will celebrate the unique contributions to Aotearoa New Zealand made by Eastern European immigrants and the importance of a unified vision of peace and what joins us in common purpose, rather than what separates us.

Featuring at SlavFest on 13 April 2024 at Te Whaea National School of Dance and Drama in Newtown, are six lively Wellington based Slavic bands, three cultural dance groups, and one world music choir. There will also be a Mihi Whakatau welcome from local iwi representatives Taranaki Whānui.

Local Slavic and Eastern European bands

Wellington is blessed with numerous ethnic folk and cultural bands drawing their roots from Eastern Europe. Throughout the day festival attendees will be able to see theatre performances by klezmer bands the Klezmer Rebs and Kugels, Balkan bands Mehana, Balkany, and Vox Ethnos and Slavic band Krackerjack.  Local world music a cappella choir Wososi will also perform four part harmony songs from Serbia, Croatian, Russian, Bulgarian and Ashkenazi/Yiddish cultures.

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Cultural dance groups

Thanks to generous grants from the Ministry of Ethnic Communities, Wellington City Council and Pub Charity we are expanding SlavFest 2024 to bring in elements of Slavic communities from Auckland and Christchurch.

Three cultural dance groups in full traditional dress will perform and teach attendees their folk dances.

Travelling down from Auckland is Dalmatian dance group the Tarara Folklore Ensemble for two performances.  Bulgarian dancers Bulgarian Horo will perform as well as offering a dance workshop. Local Polish community dancers Orzel will also show their steps.

Educational focus and workshops

SlavFest 2024 will focus on educating festival-goers about the richness of the ethnic communities that have come to Wellington to settle.  There will be workshops (all free) on voice singing, percussion, Bulgarian dance, and even sauerkraut making.  There will be educational stalls with books, information, and plenty of activities for kids.

Ethnic foods and artisan stalls

Delicious traditional Slavic foods including cakes, pierogi and Eastern European beers will be on offer, along with interesting crafts and wares for sale.

Partnership with Newtown Festival

In a co-production arrangement, Newtown Festival will support the SlavFest Education Charitable Trust with traffic management, sustainability planning on recycling and low waste, technical expertise and training of SlavFest workers.

 SlavFest is on 13 April 2024 at Te Whaea National School of Dance and Drama in Newtown. We look forward to working with the Newtown Festival on making SlavFest 2024 an even bigger success than SlavFest 2023.

 SlavFest 2024 links

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