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By Stephen Heard
January 19, 2021
By Stephen Heard
January 19, 2021

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.

The first entertainment lineup has now been announced, including a live music program spotlighting several different genres. Some highlights include ​Bay of Islands roots artist and 2020 Taite Music Prize winner Troy Kingi, ten-piece​ brass ensemble ​Richter City Rebels, Christchurch indie rock band T​here's a Tuesday, and local act ​Hans Pucket with a full horn section.

​Cubasonic​ is a mass musical event conceived by composer ​John Psathas. The experience will ​see over 300 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.

The ​RadioActive​ ​Upper Cuba SoundSphere​ will feature an abundance of dance music, street theatre and art activations between Abel Smith and Upper Cuba Streets. Visitors can join a table tennis championship rave, stage their own faux funeral, or host an 80s, gothic or Bowie-themed wedding at the Cuba Chapel.

A new visual art installation from artists ​Miriama Grace-Smith, Xoë Hall ​and​ Gina Kiel will take over the ​Wellington Airport Swan Stage, while an all-female lineup is being scheduled for the ​Garage Project Wild Workshop Stage​.

Returning for 2021 is the ​The Mammoth​ circus tent on Ghuznee Street where you'll find energetic performances and workshops by day, and saucy cabaret shows by night. The ​Street Feast ​also returns to CubaDupa, with over 100 food stalls and local vendors hawking the goods.

Image: Oliver Crawford.


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