Offering more than 70 diverse arts events including eight international acts from 12 - 28 October, this year's Nelson Arts Festival is set to be a cracker.
Nelson Arts Festival is the sunshine capital's annual regional celebration of creativity in all its forms, with some of the best national and international theatre, dance, cabaret, music talks, and community events the country can offer.
Festival Director Sophie Kelly says an exciting aspect of the 2012 festival is the timing of the famous Masked Parade, which falls at the start of Labour Weekend on Friday, 19 October, making it a great time for visitors to come and see the spectacle for themselves over a long weekend in Nelson.
"One of the largest walking parades in the southern hemisphere, our Masked Parade is not to be missed. This year the theme is 'Myths and Legends' so you can expect to see thousands of colourful and creative participants of all ages in costumes and masks that will range from Zeus to Aphrodite, to Rangi and Papa," she says.
The festival team has received record entries so far, with more than 3000 people already registered. The parade is followed by the More FM Carnivale celebrations, a free event on Trafalgar Street that same night with street performances, food stalls and great bands.
Ms Kelly says the festival programme includes deliberately challenging pieces from socially and culturally diverse artists like avant-garde violinist HAHN-BIN all the way from New York as well as some real crowd pleasers like The Topp Twins and Trinity Roots.
Headline acts include Live Live Cinema - Carnival of Souls, a visual and aural feast based on the original 1960s B-grade horror film, overlaid with live actors and musicians and one daring foley artist, recreating every sound effect all live on stage. Much-loved cabaret extraordinaire Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen return with their new work, full of rollicking tales, humour and stunning music.
Music features strongly again this year with a stellar line up of New Zealand artists such as Don McGlashen, Julia Deans and Anna Coddington with their curated work Songs to Leave Behind. Electric Wire Hustle Family bring their very special new show that includes collaborations with their individually talented parents and rising funk stars Tahuna Breaks provide for a night of serious dancing.
The festival will be based at Founders Heritage Park where it will come alive in a vintage carnival theme. Other major venues include the Suter Theatre and Theatre Royal.
The full festival programme is available from tomorrow (Saturday, 4 August). You can grab a copy at Nelson City Council, Everyman Records, libraries, retailers, cafes and key visitor outlets in Nelson or visit <a href="http://www.nelsonartsfestival.co.nz">www.nelsonartsfestival.co.nz</a> to book your early bird tickets. The website will be live from 5pm today (Friday, 3 August).
The Nelson Arts Festival is produced by the Nelson City Council as a celebration for locals and an attraction for visitors.
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