ARTicle Magazine

Your Festival survival guide

Mary Hancock · 06 February 2018

Seasoned New Zealand Festival goer and Culture Club supporter Mary Hancock has some great tips for making the most of your 2018 Festival experience. 

Le Grand opening night 1

Le Grand Continental 2016 NZ Festival by Ireen Demut


As a seasoned and enthusiastic veteran of the festival since 1996 I absolutely love it when Festival time rolls around.  The cool shows, the surprising and serendipitous encounters and the many brilliant performers all make for some of the best three weeks in Wellington. And as I want everyone to enjoy and get into it, here are some ideas about how to make the most of the Festival in 2018.

“The cool shows, the surprising and serendipitous encounters and the many brilliant performers all make for some of the best three weeks in Wellington”

DO

1. Go to as many free things as you can – there’s a lot! My favourite are the artists talks (free when you book a ticket to the relevant show) – they give an added dimension to the works and your experience. And don’t forget about the Opening Night Event Kupe, which is part of A Waka Odyssey – it’s the best way to become part of the spirit of the Festival and start your festival right. And it’s free!

2. Keep your mind and ears open – some of my most memorable events were the ones I stumbled across. Sign up for Festival updates and follow @NZFestival on Twitter and Instagram and if something takes your fancy – go!  Don’t be afraid to book last minute or to go to a show on your own – it may be your only chance. I’ve often ended up with great seats when booking a single ticket for a popular show. 

“Do ... keep your mind and ears open – some of my most memorable events were the ones I stumbled across”

3. Arrive early for your shows … you don’t want to be that person treading on feet and creating heavy sighs as you get ushered to your seat in the dark and miss the opening of a performance that started while you were finding a park. Some venues won't accept latecomers, so plan accordingly.

4. Try something new – taking a gamble is part of the fun and if you don’t like what you see you might end up with a story to tell – just ask anyone who saw Malcolm McLaren in 1996!  He was still going strong when I left at midnight, surrounded by the banging of seats as others did the same.

5. Make the most of the city – the atmosphere is brilliant with Wellington full of artists and performers for three whole weeks – who knows who you might see? So throw yourself into it, have a drink in the spiegeltent surrounds of the Festival Club, become part of the throng and be inspired.

Festival Club with Garage Project

The pop-up New Zealand Festival Club is the place to be and be seen during the Festival

“Do ... try something new – taking a gamble is part of the fun and if you don’t like what you see you might end up with a story to tell”

DON'T

1. Worry about pacing yourself or getting enough sleep – you’ll feel so alive and invigorated you won’t need it.

Future Playground Pop n Lock Dance Machine 2 (c) Jonathan Pow and Eureka!, 2017 NZF18 2000x1000

Dance it out at the Future Playground digital wonderland with the Pop n' Lock Dance Machine

2. Treat it like a military campaign, but do come prepared.  If you’re going to a show at the Festival Club, wear comfortable shoes – you may end up standing. Seating location is key so buy the best seats you can afford – try to book tickets in person if you can. Again, being a supporter of the Culture Club is great here, giving you pre-sale access to book seats early.  

“Don't ... worry about pacing yourself or getting enough sleep – you’ll feel so alive and invigorated you won’t need it”

3. And finally, don't come with empty pockets. A little cash makes it easier to buy a programme or a drink. 


Mary Hancock

Mary Hancock, Festival enthusiast and Culture Club supporter

The New Zealand Festival runs in Wellington for three weeks across 23 February – 18 March.