Nelson Arts Festival breaks the ice with October return
A performance art piece that involves a block of ice suspended from a crane above the harbor will be part of this year’s Nelson Arts Festival.
Dancers performing for eight hours on a block of ice suspended above the harbor are just the tip of the iceberg for this year’s Nelson Arts Festival.
The 11-day festival will see more than 200 performers take part in the event, which is due to take place from October 20-30.
Popular groups such as Night Vision will be back, alongside new international groups such as Thaw.
During the thaw, dancers from Australian physical theater company Legs On The Wall will swing for hours on a 2.7 tonne block of ice suspended above Port Nelson.
* Nelson Arts Festival launches free photography exhibition
* Sit tight and keep your tickets: how you can help struggling artists
* Nelson’s Fringe Festival takes off after delay due to Covid-19
Designed as a commentary on the current climate crisis, audiences are invited to watch dancers perform for eight hours as the ice melts.
Nelson Arts Festival Executive and Artistic Director Lydia Zanetti (they) said it was exciting to finally bring international works to the festival.
Dégel had been performed at the Sydney Festival in January and was considered an “exceptional and life-changing” work.
Other acts included an exhibition at Refinery Artspace called Ko Te Akau would show the work of arts laureate Charles Koroneho (Ngāpuhi, Te Mahurehure, Te Parawhau, Ngāti Hau).
Instead of the usual mask parade and carnival, mask exhibits will be featured at local businesses, and a series of workshops by Community Artworks will be offered as part of the Masks About Town experience.
Renowned visual artist Andrea Lockwoodit is hot piano would end the festival at a secret location on October 30.
Thaw and Piano Burning were two performances that could not be seen anywhere else in the country.
Zanetti was excited to see how the community would react to this year’s festival.
The executive and artistic director said he was proud of the festival program and thought people would love it.
The scale of the program was vast and spanned all of Whakatū, which was “really exciting”.
For the first time, the festival would use a Pay What You Can (PWYC) ticketing system that would allow people to choose from a range of ticket prices.
The PWYC system was a trial and was based on the successful practices of overseas festivals.
The new ticketing practice would help break down financial barriers and “open the door a little wider” for members of the Nelson community to engage in the arts.
It was a holistic approach to ticketing, Zanetti said. They believed the Nelson Arts Festival was the first major festival in New Zealand to use this system.
Another novelty is the Festival’s first residency programme. Starting this year, a local artist would be given space and resources to develop their ideas and work.
The residency program was about finding new ways to invest in artists, Zanetti said.
While the artist in residence had not yet been chosen, a call for expressions of interest was soon to be launched.
The festival had been hit hard by the pandemic over the past two years. In 2020, the majority of shows and the Mask Parade were canceled, and in 2021 organizers canceled most events due to uncertainty surrounding levels.
The Nelson Arts Festival will be held October 20-30 this year. Tickets can be purchased here.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Mask Parade would return in October. Edited: 9:52 a.m., Aug 5.