Sophie Kelly. PHOTO: Tim Cuff.

Welcoming Sophie Kelly as the Artistic Director for the 2023 Festival of Colour
A happy New Year to you, from us, the Festival of Colour team!

With the new year comes a new team member at our organisation. We are delighted to welcome Sophie Kelly to the role of Festival Director for the 2023 Festival of Colour.
Sophie will replace Philip Tremewan, who has programmed every Festival of Colour arts festival, as well as the off-year Aspiring Conversations ideas festival, since their inception in 2005.
A dedicated arts advocate with an extensive background in event curation and management, Sophie, who lives in Nelson, is the former Festival Director of Nelson Arts Festival, Summer Events programme and Opera in the Park, as well as Festival Director of Upsurge Bay of Islands Arts Festival and Project Manager of Te Ramaroa Light Festival. She is also the current Manager of Nelson’s Adam Chamber Music Festival.
“I feel incredibly privileged to be taking on the role as Artistic Director of the 2023 festival programme. I have an enormous amount of respect for the wonderful work Philip and his team have done in establishing and running this much loved festival, and am really looking forward to spending time in such a spectacular region and getting to know the community,” Sophie says.
Philip says he is thrilled with the appointment.
“I’ve loved working in Wanaka over the years. The town has a huge sense of ownership of the festival and people so much enjoy the roll-out of shows over the festival week.
“And I’m delighted to be passing the torch on to Sophie. She’s such a good friend and colleague and we’ve spent many weeks together over recent years, hunting out festival shows in Edinburgh and Adelaide, and checking out arts markets in Brisbane and Auckland.”
Philip will stay on to programme the 2022 Aspiring Conversations festival of ideas, before heading off to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. 

Sophie will be in Wanaka throughout the 2021 Festival of Colour (April 12-18) to take part in the running of the festival. 

Three weeks to go! Countdown to the Festival of Colour launch

Music, theatre, dance, art, photography, education, thought-provoking discussion – the 2021 Festival of Colour is back this year from April 12 to 18, and it’s just three weeks until we launch the programme.

We will be sharing it with our stakeholders at our launch event on the evening of Monday, February 1, and directly afterwards it goes out to the world – check out our website from 7pm on Monday night:

Programmes will be mailed out after the launch and will be available to pick up around Wanaka from cafes, shops, the library and accommodation providers.

Look for the Festival of Colour leaf!

Ticketing information

The Festival of Colour arts festival will be back this April with seven days of the best of Aotearoa’s arts and ideas.

Here’s all you need to know about getting tickets for this year’s event.

Key dates:

Priority ticket sales for festival Patrons, Benefactors and Sponsors: February 1, 2021 from 7pm

General ticket sales start: Friday February 12, 2021 from 8:30am

Festival of Colour arts festival: April 12 to 18, 2021

How to buy:

There are three ways to get tickets for the festival.

Online: Book online at

Telephone: Call our ticketing telephone on 022 4 TIX NOW (022 4 849 669).

In person: Come see their our staff at the Festival Box Office in the Lake Wanaka Centre. We will be open on Friday 12 February from 8.30am to 2pm and Saturday 13 February 10am to 2pm, for cash and eftpos sales. The Box Office will also be open during the festival from 9am daily.

Be someone who helps make it happen!

Join us, and help us bring the arts alive in our community

Do you love having a world class arts and ideas event in Wanaka?
Now, more than ever, the backing we receive from you, our supporters, is crucial to making our festivals possible.Patron and Benefactor supporters are a crucial part of our income – ticket sales cover only 30% of our costs. Join us now as a Patron for $600 or a Benefactor for $2500 and be a part of bringing the Festival of Colour back to our community!

It’s easy to renew or join online HERE on our website.

Or you can:

  • direct deposit your donation into our Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust bank account with your name as a reference
  • get directly in touch with General Manager Laura Williamson on, or on 443 4172.

Not sure if you’ve renewed? You can check our up to date list of Benefactors and Patrons on our website HERE.

Supporter’s corner: celebrating our GOLD supporters 
We rely on a mix of funding, sponsorship, private support and ticket sales to make our festivals happen.This year more than ever we have been so thankful for the sponsors who have continued to support, and believe in, what we do.

Our heartfelt thanks to our GOLD-level supporters for 2021:Milford Asset Management, Aurora Energy, and our Knowledge Partner, McKinsey & Co.





Arts in our region

Rivercity Jazzmen
Lake Wanaka Centre
Saturday 23 January, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Christchurch’s River City Jazzmen’s culture can be summed up in one word: ‘authentic’. The focus of the band never wavers far from the classic Dixieland vibe. The repertoire is faithful to the ‘genre’ and the dedication of the six musicians is the same. The line-up, now in its tenth year, follows the New Orleans’ model with skilled and inventive soloists. Tickets from EVENTFINDA.

Cemetery Road
Ground Up Brewing, 4 Gordon Road, Wanaka
Saturday, February 6

Catch Cemetery Road live at the new Ground Up Brewery. The Wanaka/Hawea based band plays a mixture of rock, country, blues and acoustic music.

Gibbston Valley Winery Summer Concert
Gibbston Valley Winery, 1820 State Highway 6, Queenstown
Saturday 23 January, 9:45am – 6:15pm

There will be five kiwi acts taking to the stage at the Gibbston Valley Winery Summer Concert, Queenstown in January, and will feature Gin Wigmore, Dragon, The Jordan Luck Band, Stellar* and Hello Sailor. Tickets from EVENTFINDA.