New Year’s Eve concert on square shifted to March
Those looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Aotea Square will have to go elsewhere this year.
The First Night concert, held every year since 1999, has been shelved because of construction work in the square.
But organisers The Edge say it hasn’t been cancelled, just shifted to March.
Work on the $80 million square redevelopment and Civic carpark roof repair started earlier this year and major excavation is under way.
The Edge associate director of arts programmes Craig Cooper says construction fencing and access in and out of the square would “compromise people’s visitor experience”.
“It’s not an issue for most of our activities but when you get 20,000 people it becomes a bit of a crowd management issue.”
The free family concert was held in the square for three years before being moved inside the Aotea Centre after structural problems with the carpark roof were discovered.
Mr Cooper says although the construction doesn’t directly affect activity in the centre, it makes managing a large crowd “logistically really difficult”.
He says the First Night concert drew between 10,000 and 20,000 people to hear popular local bands and welcome in the new year.
The concert will be replaced with a programme of free family events.
Mr Cooper says it made more sense to spread celebrations over a longer period later in the year.
The series of free weekend events are part of the We Are Open campaign, reminding people that the Aotea Centre will operate during the redevelopment.
The events will be a combination of work by arts companies and local community groups.
Auckland City Council CBD projects group manager David Sheridan Jones says part of the square has been closed off and movement in and around it is restricted.
He says it would be impractical and risky to hold events with large crowds.
Mr Sheridan Jones says once complete the square will be able to host large crowds for concerts and cultural festivals.
“An event such as First Night falls in that category.”