Cuba Dupa promises to be super

Favourite street puts its festival face on again

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 05:00 21/06/2014
CubaDupa
CAMERON BURNELL/ Fairfax NZ
STREET PARTY: From left, artistic director Drew James, Conrad Coom, Brianne Kerr, Stephen Templer, Emma Giesen, Hannah Clarke and "Mayor of Cuba St" Roger Young launch CubaDupa. 

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Wellington

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Forget the carnival - New Zealand's biggest street party is going to be CubaDupa.

Organisers of a new Cuba St festival have unveiled the name and slogan for the annual event, which will kick off in March next year.

CubaDupa - a play on super-duper - will be based around the slogan "get up, get down" and will mark the end of summer and start of winter, organisers say.

The street party will see Manners, Dixon, and Ghuznee streets closed for two days as a street party featuring live music and dancing takes over on March 28 and 29.

The whole event is expected to cost about $500,000, half of which is coming from Wellington City Council, which has agreed to fund it for five years out of its economic initiatives fund.

The new event will be held six years after the last Cuba St Carnival, which was canned in 2010 because of spiralling costs and the loss of council funding.

The Creative Capital Arts Trust was set up in 2011, with rejuvenating the event a key purpose, and earlier this year Womad and Taranaki Arts Festival artistic director Drew James was appointed artistic director.

James said the aim was to bring the party to the people in a variety of ways. "Everything from street theatre through to street music and dance, flash mobs, installations in kind of surprising spaces in the Cuba St precinct."

The name was chosen from about 50 ideas, and was intended to encapsulate the spirit of the event. "It was really important to us to include Cuba in the name, and also just to give it a sense of fun because that's what the street is about . . . CubaDupa is better than super."

While the new event would capture the essence of the Cuba St Carnival, it would be its own event, and there would not be a parade.

Instead, the aim was to make the whole area a parade, teeming with music, dance and costumes, he said.

There was also a plan to get a variety of local musicians together to create a "Cuba St orchestra", and retailers would be encouraged to bring their shops out into the street too.

The event would be family-oriented, and no further liquor licences outside those of existing bars and restaurants would be sought, James said.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown welcomed the plan.

"Residents and visitors alike see the beloved Cuba precinct as an essential part of Wellington's built and cultural heritage. The return of a festival to celebrate the Cuba quarter will be exciting for the capital."

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Hospitality Association Wellington president Jeremy Smith welcomed a new event for the city, saying all festivals had positive benefits for hospitality as they allowed Wellington to showcase what it could offer - both to locals and visitors. "I support any initiative that's going to bring people into the city."

- The Dominion Post

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