The Festival of Colour is the flagship arts event for the region. With seven successful festivals under our belt, we are still fresh and stylish and punch well above our weight.  We have established our track record with sell-out seasons of music, theatre and dance performances and deservedly known as the ‘best little arts festival in New Zealand’.

Six extraordinary days and nights in the Southern Lakes

The 2017 festival at a glance

  • Over 50 performances in 9 venues plus opening night bonfires, street theatre, outdoor video screen and schools workshops
  • 10,243 tickets issued plus 1,352 school students at workshops and performances
  • 48% rated us 10 out of 10 in our survey (and a further 46% gave us an 8 or 9)

“The high overall standard of the performances and events. The friendly and welcoming atmosphere surrounding the festival. The beautiful Lake Wanaka setting … and the lovely weather”

“I thought this year’s festival had a bit of ‘edge’ back to it – awesome! I really enjoyed the variety”

“Loved the audience participation. Loved the world class acts. Thank you for bringing the festival to Wanaka and allowing families to experience top class theatre. It was a highlight of our year to date. Thank you!”

“I appreciate how the whole community is included – lots of things for ages – and interaction too”

Read our 2017 annual report

2019 – Festival number eight!

We always aim for a programme that is rich and diverse – with something to excite, engage and entertain our audiences. The next Festival of Colour will take place April 2 – 7, 2019, and the third Aspiring Conversations will take place April 3 – 5, 2020. Click here for more information on Aspiring Conversations.

The Festival of Colour and Aspiring Conversations are organised by the Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust, registered Charitable Trust CC27353.

The Festival Team

Prue Wallis (Patron)
The late Fiona Rowley (Patron Settlor)


Alistair King (Chair)

Mike Toepfer (Deputy Chair)
Trevor Crawford
Jo McGregor
Fiona McPhee
Annis Somerville
Hetty Van Hale
Mark Verbiest
Annabel Wilson 

Trust Advisors

Nicola King (Youth)
Dennis Schwarz (Technical) 


Philip Tremewan – Festival Director
Laura Williamson – General Manager
Anna McConville and Liz Breslin – Event Managers
Katy Macpherson – Ticketing Manager