January 2004, Volume 15, Number 1
Entertainment and Colour
A chunk of inner Wellington will be closed off in late February, as the city hosts its fourth Cuba Street Carnival...
Fifteen entertainment zones have been established to bring the centre of Wellington alive with ‘music, entertainment and colour,” says carnival director John Page.
More than 100 bands and artists will perform, and part of State Highway 1 will be closed for 48 hours from the evening of February 27.
Close to 90,000 people packed the centre of Wellington for the carnival’s night parade in 2002. The Saturday night parade features more than 50 floats.
John says this year’s carnival includes half a dozen music stages, three busking sites, a huge number of stalls, sports demonstrations, public sculpturing, a kids’ area, and a holistic lifestyle site.
The Community Employment Group has provided support to the carnival, as has the Wellington City Council, New Zealand Community Trust, Radio ZM and various gaming machine trusts.
John says that a lot of behind-the-scenes work goes in to ensuring the carnival comes together well, such as organising security, marketing, logistics, lighting and first aid.
The carnival is about providing free, open access, diverse entertainment and a programme that is representative of the many cultures and groups that make up Wellington.
It has considerable economic spinoffs for the businesses in central Wellington, says John.
“We have people coming from all over New Zealand wandering around and happy to spend money.”