Out­spo­ken heard again next year

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By MAR­JORIE COOK

Po­ets will tread the boards of Wanaka’s per­for­mance venues again next Jan­uary.

A board of trus­tees has been formed to bring Out­spo­ken Fes­ti­val back to Wanaka and or­gan­is­ers Liz Bres­lin and Ju­lia Le are work­ing on the pro­gramme.

The Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil has pro­vided a $5000 grant, adding fur­ther in­cen­tive to the board’s goal of mak­ing the fes­ti­val an an­nual fea­ture in Wanaka.

A char­i­ta­ble trust is be­ing formed with Cen­tral Otago artist Gra­hame Syd­ney, Margo Ber­ry­man of Queen­stown, and Wanaka’s Tony Wil­liams and Luc Bo­hyn agree­ing to be trus­tees.

Bres­lin and Le said the first fes­ti­val went well and drew an au­di­ence of about 400 to the re­gion.

They are now seek­ing fi­nan­cial support from arts pa­trons and the wider com­mu­nity and will hold a pa­trons func­tion on Oc­to­ber 8 to ex­plain more about the event.

‘‘It takes a long time to es­tab­lish a fes­ti­val. That’s why we need support from the arts. Ev­ery fes­ti­val hopes to break even and we are talk­ing with Gra­hame about the value of the arts to the com­mu­nity,’’ Le said.

The fes­ti­val did not break even this year but it did meet the bud­get set by the spon­sors.

Le said the fes­ti­val was or­gan­ised very quickly and it was amaz­ing that the first one drew such strong support.

‘‘We got great feed­back from the artists. Sam Hunt said he would love to come back.

‘‘It was a fan­tas­tic plat­form for new voices as well, through the Wanaka showcase. That is a very im­por­tant strand of ac­tiv­ity for us.

‘‘It is all about in­te­grat­ing new voices as well as get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to work with es­tab­lished artists,’’ Le said.

Bres­lin said the fes­ti­val helped give Wanaka po­ets a na­tional pro­file, to the ex­tent that Wanaka will host a re­gional fi­nal of the Na­tional Po­etry Slam to­mor­row night at Kai Whaka­pai.

The win­ner will be flown to the na­tional po­etry slam in Wellington on Novem­ber 8 and also gets a guest spot in the next fes­ti­val.

‘‘Firstly through [lo­cal po­ets group] Poetic Jus­tice and then the Out­spo­ken fes­ti­val, we’ve put Wanaka on the arts map in a dif­fer­ent way . . .

‘‘I am per­form­ing in Auck­land in Oc­to­ber and that would not have hap­pened with­out Out­spo­ken Fes­ti­val . . .

‘‘Cul­tures don’t hap­pen over night. We have to invest in our cul­tural life and in young peo­ple to make it sur­vive,’’ Bres­lin said.

Photo: MAR­JORIE COOK/ FAIR­FAX NZ 629925505

Po­etry plan­ning: Out­spo­ken Fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers Liz Bres­lin and Ju­lia Le re­view images from this year’s in­au­gu­ral fes­ti­val in Jan­uary.

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