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