Festivals are back Wellington! - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
 Issue 170

Photo by Oliver Crawford Photography

Festivals are back Wellington! by Harry Bartle

Guess what Wellington? With New Zealand’s recent move to Orange under the COVID-19 Protection Framework, Wellington’s first major festival is ready to kick off the fun. On from the 6th of May until the 29th, everyone is invited to Eat Drink Play, a vibrant celebration of our capital’s food, beverage, accommodation, and entertainment scene.

With so many events cancelled or postponed over the last few months including CupaDuba, Homegrown, and Beers at the Basin, Eat Drink Play is a huge win for so many Kiwis who have been doing it tough lately. Musicians, entertainers, and restaurant and bar owners will benefit greatly, as well as those who just want to have a bit of a boogie and enjoy a bite to eat.

A range of acts and performances will be hosted at venues around the city including cabaret, musical theatre, opera, dance, circus, comedy, and DJs. Creative Capital Arts Trust, which runs CubaDupa and the New Zealand Fringe Festival, has also agreed to join Eat Drink Play as a programming partner, meaning they can help fill venues with an extravaganza of acts who were unable to perform at Fringe and CubaDupa.

Although there are so many to choose from, some highlights during the festival include The Wellington Music Trail, Boulcott Steet Parties, Julia Deans at Meow, ABBA Pub Sing-Along, Magic Music Night, and Bark in the Park – there really is a something for everyone and every dog! It is expected that around 200 venues and hotels will host over 400 offerings and events. In addition, there will be a range of walking trails organised by theme, all of which include live music, cocktails, and more often than not, some fried chicken.

Festival director Jeremy Smith says the event is a huge step forward for New Zealand and a chance to support Wellington’s hospitality sector.

Eat Drink Play is all about collaboration and the hospitality and performance sectors coming together, mostly in a voluntary capacity, to deliver something really special for Wellingtonians and visitors,” Smith says.

As a member of that sector, director of the Hoff Hospitality Group Matt Mclaughlin says the timing of the event couldn’t be better.

“I really encourage Wellingtonians to get out and enjoy the festival. We’ve had a couple of really difficult months as hospitality operators,” Mclaughlin says. “I look at Eat Drink Play as a good opportunity for us to support our local industry and the timing of the festival is actually pretty perfect.”

Eat Drink Play offers all of us a great excuse to go out, socialise, and enjoy good food, drinks, and lively entertainment. After months of being forced to limit indoor capacities, Eat Drink Play promises to kickstart post-COVID celebrations during a vibrant festival with lots to see, do, eat, and enjoy.

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