The temperatures are dropping in Wanaka and we find that people fall into two camps – either the skiers get engrossed in mountain conditions or the non-skiers escape to warmer climes!

The Festival office is quiet as we finish the festival accounts and start our planning for Aspiring Conversations 2018. We have had a high profile international speaker confirm their attendance and so we are excited to start sorting out the programme for another fantastic weekend of inspiring debate and discussions. Make sure you have April 6 – 8 2018 in your diary.

Many thanks to those who completed our surveys from the Festival of Colour.  382 people gave us their feedback and comments and it is so useful for us to help to shape future festivals.

We are delighted that once again we scored an overall satisfaction rating of 9 out of 10, and 48% of people gave us a 10! We scored highly on benchmarks such as ’making me feel welcome’ and ‘instils a sense of pride in the community’. We are so pleased that the people of Wanaka love the festival so much, come out and support it and show the visitors what an amazing and vibrant community we have. Wanaka is experiencing very rapid growth in both population numbers and visitors and we think that the festival is one of those events that can really bring people together.

Here is a selection of the feedback

“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!”

“It it was so well organized. Everyone seemed genuinely happy, welcoming and inclusive. A great variety of shows to choose from. This year seemed to engender a more community feeling. Especially with the bonfire (awesome idea).”

“I was amazed by the variety of entertainment, astonished by the high standard of performance and captivated by the brilliance and daring of so many performers. In total a very uplifting experience.”

And of course, it’s really helpful to receive the comments on what we can do better – we really do listen. Many commented on how uncomfortable the seats are especially in the Crystal Palace. Sometimes they weren’t folded out properly and so were at an angle but we are also going to look into some more comfortable options or even cushions! Many of you were disappointed not to get tickets to see the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra – we’re sorry but we just couldn’t put on another performance. Not only is it hard logistically with an orchestra of that size but also due to the other commitments in the Lake Wanaka Centre we just couldn’t fit it in – we really did try. And we did put on lots of performances of other shows to try and satisfy the demand (and we’ll factor it into our planning for next time).

The ticket scanners also did not perform very well so we’re looking into better scanners and how we can manage that process more effectively, and also those who went to the first performance of “Hudson & Halls Live!” were not very happy with the rather confusing entrance to the auditorium via the Armstrong Room. This was all a scripted part of the show but it didn’t work in our venue – we changed it for the second night. And we’re going to test out numbered seating in the Lake Wanaka Centre next time so that everyone has an allocated seat either on the flat floor or tiered seating or upstairs.

We hope that all of these improvements will make it an even better experience for everyone! And do feel free to contact us anytime if you have any comments or suggestions – we’re always happy to isten to ideas for performers and any other improvements we can make – (email link)

Festival Director Philip Tremewan and GM Lindsey Schofield are both heading to Europe for several weeks over winter – Philip will be visiting festivals and performances especially in London, Manchester and Edinburgh (and one show in Hamburg) to see what gems he can pick up for us for 2019. And Lindsey is visiting family in the UK. The Festival office will be closed but you’ll be able to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What’s On

Arts on Tour are presenting The New Zealand Guitar Quartet in July. Many of you will have seen them in the 2015 Festival. They are playing at the Holy Family Catholic Church on Friday 7 July – tickets at Gifted, 19 Helwick Street; and a matinee performance at Bannockburn Hall on Saturday 8th July at 3pm. Tickets Cromwell I-Site.

And the Wanaka Concert Society in association with Chamber Music New Zealand present internationally celebrated pianist, Jian Liu, on Wednesday 21 June at 7.30 pm in the Lake Wanaka Centre. He is a globally sought-after solo pianist and chamber musician. Tickets from Gifted, 19 Helwick Street, Wanaka or Eventfinda (link).

Tiny Ruins will be performing at The Sherwood, Queenstown on Sunday 25 June. Tickets at

And slightly further field in Dunedin later this month Indian Ink Theatre Company will perform “The Pickle King” at the Fortune Theatre (21 – 24 June). “The Pickle King” is a glorious, heart-warming play. which has won a huge number of Awards – but most importantly it has won the enthusiasm of audiences around the country and the world. More information and tickets (link)