Six of the Best Things to See and Do at CubaDupa 2021
This year's festival features 470 free performances and 20 parades up and down the Cuba Street precinct.
After being canned — and then resurfacing as a virtual event — following the COVID-19 outbreak, Wellington's favourite street festival, CubaDupa, will return to the pavement in 2021. A turnout of 100,000 is expected to hit the Cuba Street precinct during the last weekend in summer to soak up nearly 20 hours of entertainment across 20 stages and creative zones. That's 470 free performances and 20 parades with over 1700 artists from all over Aotearoa.
Cubasonic is a mass musical event conceived by composer John Psathas. The experience will see over 250 musicians — including Orchestra Wellington, Royal New Zealand Air Force Band and nearly 100 Batucada drummers — line the street and take their lead from 12 conductors positioned above the crowd. Find the ten-minute mass musical interruption between Abel Smith Street and the Bucket Fountain.
Rollicking Entertainment recently found themselves dangling upside-down six metres above Auckland's The Civic stage. In the capital, the hair-raising carnival act is celebrating the most notorious stunts in carnie history. The exciting and terrifying experience will take place both on the streets and in The Mammoth circus tent.
HAVANA COFFEE WORKS SHAMBLELANDS
No stone has been left unturned at CubaDupa 2021. At the Havana Coffee Works Shamblelands you can even partake in your own faux wedding or funeral. Ever wanted to lie in a coffin, let your friends throw flowers over you and hear a custom written obituary? This is the place. You can also attend a real wedding as part of the Hits Hitch Up.
FOOTNOTE NEW ZEALAND DANCE: STREET TRANCE
New Zealand's oldest contemporary dance company Footnote is presenting its interactive art/dance installation at CubaDupa 2021. Developed by choreographer Emma Murray, Street Trance is a large-scale human installation that fills the street with coordinated movement. Around 100 performers have been drawn from local schools and community groups to move alongside company members and the dance community. The piece explores transformation through repetition and over duration.
WELLINGTON AIRPORT NGA TANIWHA STAGE
The Wellington Airport Ngā Taniwha Stage is where you can catch a stunning lineup of local musicians. Highlights include local indie rockers Hans Pucket, Auckland rapper JessB, cinematic jazz band Carnivorous Plant Society and Bay of Islands roots artist Troy Kingi, who will take the stage with his full seven-piece band. See why he was awarded the prestigious 2020 Taite Music Prize on the stage which features an installation by three of Whanganui-a-Tara's top artists — Miriama Grace-Smith, Xoe Hall and Gina Kiel.
The world's smallest theatre is coming to CubaDupa, too. Converted from a ten-foot shipping container, Tiny Town seats only five people at a time. The space will be home to an array of artists across the weekend, including a combination of sublime local talent and world music. Pop by in the late hours when tiny theatre meets rave cave.
CubaDupa 2021 will take place on 27 and 28 March, 2021 across the Cuba Street precinct. For further information, visit cubadupa.co.nz.
Image: Oliver Crawford.
Published on March 22, 2021 by Stephen Heard