Wellington Scoop

Newtown Festival celebrating diversity

The annual Newtown Festival has started and will fill the streets of one of the city’s most vibrant suburbs till 16 March, with the highlight being the Newtown Fair Day next Sunday.

Now in its 13th year, the festival is a celebration of the diversity and richness of the Newtown community, with 2009 promising to be the biggest and best yet. With events ranging from music and street theatre to cultural dance and the highly anticipated Fair Day, the festival will be a kaleidoscope of international food, crafts and music.

The festival is a collaborative production between the Newtown Residents’ Association, Newtown Community Centre, Newtown Primary School and the Newtown Library with support from the Wellington City Council.

Always a highlight, the Fair Day on Sunday 8 March will include performances from some of the stars of the New Zealand music scene including OLD SCHOOL ROAD, ODESSA, BEATROOTZ, LITTLE BUSHMAN, THE NOK and THE SPI. Also JOHN PIPPUS, a Solo Blues performer from Canada

The Fair Day will feature five stages, including the Newtown Community Stage on the Constable/Riddiford St corner, and stages on Wilson and Green Streets and Newtown School, a buskers pitch and much more. The streets will be lined with over 200 food, art and craft stalls, a car show, community stands stand plus games areas for the kids. There’ll be an eco-friendly focus, with recycling initiatives.

On Fair Day, various central streets in Newtown will be closed to vehicular traffic and have parking restrictions in place. Come by bus and have a great time.

An added attraction on Fair Day will be an open day at the new Wellington Hospital on Riddiford Street. The public can inspect the new buildings from 10 till 4, with the Wellington Hospitals and Health Foundation benefitting from the money that will be raised.

More information about fair day is available here.

Other events during the festival include The Mission Choir (Monday 3 March), The Carrara Park Jazz Picnic (Saturday 14 March), events at The Adelaide and performances at the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre.

On Monday 9 March at Suite in Owen Street, the festival will present “Where You Stay”, an all-day tattoo event, starting at 9am, which is being staged for TVNZ’s Artland program. Artland commissions artists to come up with a big idea that pushes the boundaries…Wayne Youl’s idea follows his recent focus on NZ identity and the concept of turangawaewae.

One hundred people will be tattooed with a 125mm tall/long black outline map of Aotearoa – all tattoos will be the same size and the individual will choose as many small red dots as they like to put on the map to signify those places that have importance – their turangawaewae. The two tattooists are Tommy Downs (from Roger’s Tattoo shop in Wellington) and Ra O’dowd from Auckland who was a student of Wayne’s a few years back in Petone. www.suite.co.nz

Then on Wednesday 11 March at 6pm, a Newtown Walkabout. Starting at the bus shelter outside the new hospital , join Celia Wade-Brown and friends for a stroll through the byways, paths,walkways and Town Belt of Newtown. A leisurely walk – up to two hours – discovering the secrets of Newtown.

Don’t miss the Newtown Festival – 29 February to 16 March – and the Newtown Fair on 8 March.

(Information from the Newtown Festival)