Celebrating in art deco style
Glen Pickering has a huge job on his hands - directing Hawke’s Bay’s biggest event.
What is your current role?
I’m Festival Director for the Art Deco Trust with my main focus on
Hawke’s Bay’s largest event, the Tremains Art Deco Festival.
How did you initially get involved in the Art Deco Trust and how long have you been part of it?
I joined the trust in June 2016. I was the director of a festival in Christchurch, when the Art Deco Trust approached me about this job. My family are from and still live in Wairoa and we really wanted to come back to Hawke’s Bay, so jumped at the opportunity.
What can punters expect from this year’s offering?
This year is going to be special. It’s the 30th year the festival has been running and we are going to be celebrating in style. Our main focus is on music. We have Friday Night with the Stars featuring Moses Mackay from Sol3 Mio, Esther Stephens from Go Girls & Westside and lots of other amazing performers. There will also be a lot of music, entertainment and performances in the streets Friday through Sunday. Expect to have a full on, fun art deco experience! What are the ingredients of a great event?
It’s all about creating magical experiences. That involves thinking about everything from the big stuff like what types of events to put on and what entertainment will work best; through to how do people get there, park, book tickets. You try to think about every little moment so the audience doesn’t have to. With a festival like this it’s also about making it accessible. Giving everyone an opportunity to discover something that makes them think ‘‘Yes I want to go and see that’’. The festival is first and foremost a celebration for our community so we want everyone to come and enjoy.
How much time goes into planning an event like this and how many people are involved? My brain is always thinking about what to do next so I’m already planning 2-3 years in advance. Day to day, I work full time on this with a team of amazing people, who take care of fundraising, sponsorship, marketing, ticketing, and everything else you can think of. We also have an incredible group of volunteers without whom this festival would not exist. All up including staff, volunteers, community groups, suppliers, and entertainers there would be over 300 people involved in bringing the festival to life.
What keeps you passionate about it year after year?
The challenge for events is making sure they stay fresh, by developing new events that excite people and making them want to come back year after year. I’m constantly learning and thinking about how to improve the festival, so each time someone has an even better experience than the last.
How important is it for you to share your knowledge and passion for art deco?
Art deco is hugely significant for Napier. Not only is it our heritage but it also is one of the biggest economic drivers for the region. Napier’s entire tourism industry is based around it. And our art deco heritage is special. Sharing our story is a big part of what the Festival special. Where did your interest in art deco come from?
My interest for art deco really only started when I began working for the trust. I love the music, the fashion and whole style of the era. The cars are beautiful and the architecture and art are breathtaking. I have fallen in love with it!
Can you tell me a little about what’s coming up in this year’s festival?
This year’s vintage car parade has 300 cars and is featuring the 30 best cars from the festival. There are the flying displays, railcar rides, we have big concerts, more street theatre and performances, more music and lots really fun and exciting events. Where is your favourite place in New Zealand and why is it a favourite?
I love being anywhere near the ocean and in New Zealand we are blessed with lots of coastline. I love Ma¯hia and Ocean Beach because they are just beautiful sandy swimming beaches.
If you could invite four people to dinner, who would they be and why?
I would invite my grandparents (all four have passed away) because as an adult I really want to know about them, because that’s where I’ve come from. I would’ve loved to have known them as people.
What music have you been listening to lately?
A bit of everything. Steve Wonder. Crowded House. Split Enz. Portugal. Broods. Calvin Harris. Chemical Brothers.
What was the last book you read?
Art Deco Trust festival director Glen Pickering.