Successful Arts Festival the most diverse so far
This final song has been sung, the final bow has been taken and the curtain has fallen on this year’s Harcourt’s Hawke’s Bay Art Festival.
This year’s offering of 70 shows from 52 acts over just under two weeks delighted audiences, and provided a more diverse offering than previous festivals, director Pitsch Leiser said.
It had a record number of shows with Maori and Pasifika communities participating, and a record number of homegrowns acts overall.
It was too soon to predict what sort of boost the festival had given the region’s economy, but organisers said more than 300 bed nights had been booked with local accommodation providers to house visiting artist and crew from New Zealand and around the world during the festival.
This year featured the first ‘White Night’ event for the festival. Held in Napier, the event was considered a huge success. Ten venues in Napier’s arts precinct opened their doors and hosted a series of exhibitions, live performance and interactive events.
A record number of Readers and Writers events were held - 18 over the course of the festival.
Leiser said the success of the festival was measured by the genuine feedback he and others got from people at the shows.
‘‘Their delight and how they’ve been touched by the work.
‘‘The festival engages people on so many levels. We engage people on an entertainment level, but also on an emotional and intellectual level.’’
‘‘Many of the events, such as the readers and writers sessions allow us to have a true conversation about real and relevant issues, like mental health or the P epidemic. We’re providing a platform for people to hear these stories and participate in this discussion.
‘‘It’s important to us to bring diverse work to Hawke’s Bay featuring a range of shows that are a bit outside of the ordinary.’’
Leiser said he had been told people were thankful the festival was in Hawke’s Bay, as it gave them a chance to see a high calibre of work without having to leave town.
The first White Night to be part of the Hawke’s Bay arts festival was a huge success, organisers say.