Festival ‘small but perfectly formed’
Wanaka’s Festival of Colour celebrates its 10th birthday this year and is set to hit its financial targets again.
Festival director Philip Tremewan has worked with the festival trust since its inception in 2005 and says each of the six arts events has been a pleasure to assemble.
The festival is held every two years and costs between $800,000 and $900,000 to run.
A Culture and Heritage Ministry survey after the 2013 festival reported 53 per cent of respondents stayed in Wanaka for three to seven nights, with average spending estimated at $411. At least 12,200 tickets were sold. The Festival of Colour Charitable Trust recorded a modest profit in 2013 of just over $16,000, which was put towards this year’s event. Ticket sales, grants and sponsorship form the bulk of festival income, with the 2013 box office earning $273,790.
Tremewan said this year’s festival is on track, thanks to the strong purchase of the limited number of preferential tickets by patrons, followed by record first day public sales.
"The festival budget is based on [projected] ticket sales and I heave a sigh of relief when we hit that number and we are just about to hit that number again,’’ he said.
When planning the first festival, Tremewan just concentrated on getting the festival going. But since then, he’s been able to develop ideas.
"There’s also the thought – maybe next time! You do start banking shows,’’ he said.
Tremewan visits other arts festivals to get ideas and is off to the Edinburgh Arts Festival later this year to experience an event that presents 300 shows a day and sells about 2 million tickets.
"Wanaka is small and perfectly formed. But lots of other festival directors come here to see what we do,’’ he said.
"It is a festival that has a huge community stakeholding. That makes it very, very special. I’ve been working with the staff and board putting a programme together and we’ve ended up with a great programme,’’ Tremewan said.
Earlier festivals included the Wild South Film Festival, which no longer partners with the Wanaka event.
Tremewan said while the "wonderful’’ films were missed, it meant there were no timetable clashes.
The only thing holding Wanaka’s festival back was venue capacity, with Tremewan suggesting a revamp of the Lake Wanaka Centre, similar to recent upgrades at Queenstown’s Memorial Hall.
It was possible more seats could be squeezed into Wanaka’s main venue "but longer term, it would be nice for Wanaka if it had an arts centre’’.
Many of this year’s events have already sold out. The Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir has agreed to perform an extra concert and extra shows have been scheduled for theatre productions, The Bookbinder and Anzac Eve.
Festival general manager Lindsey Schofield said there had been calls for festival opener, Australia circus act Casus, to perform a second show but unfortunately the artists had to perform in Keri Keri the next day.
While Tremewan is hesitant to name show highlights – he loves them all – he is proud of the strength of the Mt Aspiring College production.
"The community production has been a very, very important part. ’’
The teenagers are now in the thick of rehearsals for Like There’s No Tomorrow, about teenage binge drinking, which will be performed at the Gin and Raspberry bar in Ardmore St.
Tremewan also thinks property-conscious members of the Wanaka audience would be very interested in the views of economist Shamubeel Eaqub and
Lake Wanaka Centre box office, 0224TIXNOW (022 484 9669) Rhodes Scholar Andrew Dean, who present Generation Rent - The Unequal Generation in the Aspiring Conversations programme.
He’s pleased to branch out with the Casus circus, describes choreographer Douglas Wright’s work The Kiss Inside as "a benchmark’’ and the Daffodils theatre production as "knockout’’, and believes he has "quirky’’ covered with performances of JS Bach’s Coffee Cantata and Theatre NZ’s production of Cafe.
Festival general manager Lindsey Schofield and director Philip Tremewan outside the Lake Wanaka Centre.
Photo: MARJORIE COOK/FAIRFAX NZ About the festival launch: Wanaka’s lakefront at 7.30pm on Monday with Ahi Ka – Fires of Occupation, by visual artists Ross Hemera and Priscilla Cowie, both of Ngai Tahu, and Su Proebster, originally from Germany. They will be working with fire in different ways. The public can watch them at work on their installations on the lakefront from Friday April 17. What’s on: 1 circus, 2 dance shows, 8 theatre productions, 16 music events, 5 Aspiring Conversations, 3 visual art shows, 1 street theatre.
When: April 20 to April 27. Venues: Lake Wanaka Centre, Crystal Palace, the lakefront, Federal Cafe, Gin and Raspberry, Wanaka Masonic Lodge, Luggate Community Hall, Hawea Flat Hall, Holy Family Catholic Church, Bannockburn Memorial Hall and Wanaka’s Ardmore Street. More information: festivalofcolour.co.nz