Meridian Energy Summer City is back for another festival of great summer fun, and the programme is chock-full of sizzling summer events.
The 2008 festival organised by Wellington City Council promises many of the much-loved familiar events from past years and the addition of some exciting new events.
ASB Gardens Magic is back for 22 consecutive nights of music from up-and-coming musicians and some old favourites. The series offers a huge range of musical styles. The Warratahs kick things off on Sunday 6 January, OdESSA wraps it up on Sunday 27 January, and in between there's music from the likes of the Vipers, the New Zealand String Quartet, Good Laika, the Beatgirls and the Mission Choir. The gardens around the Sound Shell will again be given the magical lighting treatment from local lighting visionary Mike Farrand.
Other returning events include the Rhythm and Beats New Year's Eve celebrations in Civic Square, the Enchanted Tales children's storytelling season, Waitangi Day celebrations, Radio Active 89FM's One Love, and the Gravity and Other Myths outdoor circus shows.
The Council's Economic Development and Recreation Portfolio Leader Councillor John Morrison says he'll be checking out some of the ASB Gardens Magic concerts. "The good people of Wellington needn't fear, though – I won't be dancing and I certainly won't be singing. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy as much of Meridian Energy Summer City as possible."
There will be plenty of singing and dancing at the new Starry Night concert series. Featuring popular Wellington bands Rhombus and the Phoenix Foundation, and dazzling tributes to Elvis Presley and Stevie Ray Vaughan, these new events are expected to be a highlight of this year's festival.
There have been several changes to the line-up from previous years. Events such as X*Air and Summer Shakespeare are being rested but there are plenty of great new events to keep the festival fresh and vibrant.
Other music events new to Summer City include: the Sunday Sampler on 20 January, an eclectic line-up of Wellington acts Sam Manzanza and the Rhythm African Band, Hikoikoi, Libra Accord and Los Guagua Boys; a performance from Don McGlashan and Little Bushman (Thursday 3 January) as part of their national tour; and EdgeFest 08 in the Park on Saturday 9 February.
Also new is the Pacific Island Festival on Saturday 16 February, which offers performances, delicious food and market stalls representing the cultures and communities of the seven Pacific Island nations. On the same day is the Bowl-a-Rama International Skateboarding Comp, which launches this year and will be the biggest annual gathering of international skaters in New Zealand. Local and international skate stars will battle it out for a US$10,000 prize purse at Waitangi Park.
Meridian Energy Summer City offers all this and more. Brochures featuring the full programme will be available at locations across Wellington from tomorrow, 14 December. Information is also available on the Council's website www.Wellington.govt.nz or you can request a brochure by calling 499 4444.