Suc­cess­ful Arts Fes­ti­val the most di­verse so far

The Napier Mail - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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