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Gardens Magic

Three weeks of free live music. Now that's magic.
By Joe Parker
December 11, 2018
By Joe Parker
December 11, 2018

Summer is rolling around again, and it's time to take advantage of the sunshine. One of the most iconic Wellington events is Gardens Magic, and there's really no contest. It's hard to beat three weeks of great musicians and outdoor picnics, especially when it's all for free. 

For the uninitiated, Gardens Magic is a series of outdoor concerts located at the Soundshell in the Wellington Botanic Garden (which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year). A different musician or band will be taking the stage every night of the week (with a few rain days thrown in), and it's an eclectic mix, ranging from reggae ska and funkadelic rock to jazz classics and kapa haka. On the lineup is Wellington favourite Newtown Rocksteady, Afro-Cuban flute and J-pop by way of Miho's Jazz Orchestra, a night of world rhythms with Mundi, and three nights of Summer Showcases which present the best the city has to offer. The Botanic Garden itself will be brought to life with a stunning lighting display after dark, and it's well worth sticking around for a wander after the show.

A word to the wise: get there early to nab yourself a good spot. It fills up quickly, and although you'll always find a place to sit, it's nice to be in the thick of it. Either way, this is definitely not one to be missed. 


Wed 9 Jan –Mundi
Thu 10 Jan – Anxiety Club
Fri 11 Jan – Hans Pucket
Sat 12 Jan – Jane Siberry/Anthonie Tonnon
Sun 13 Jan – Summer Showcase 1 (Helen Lomas, Peyton Morete, Liam Poole, Frances Leeds)
Tues 15 Jan – Newtown Rocksteady
Wed 16 Jan – Tāwhiri Funk
Thu 17 Jan – Reb Fountain
Fri 18 Jan – Royal New Zealand Air Force Jazz Orchestra
Sat 19 Jan – "Lucky Dip"
Sun 20 Jan – Awerangi: Mana Wāhine
Mon 21 – Rain day
Tue 22 Jan – Aotearoa All Stars
Wed 23 Jan – Summer Showcase II (A.U.R.A, CL-AUDIO, Kuki Koori)
Thu 24 Jan – The Mean Bones
Fri 25 Jan – Orchestra Wellington
Sat 26 Jan – Summer Showcase III (Matias Ceballos, CL-audio DUB, Sam Manzanza, Fernando Figueroa Trío Latino)
Sun 27 Jan – Miho's Jazz Orchestra

Image: Pete Monk.

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