Wellington’s CubaDupa back to its full glory after three years

It has been three years since the CubaDupa festival could take to the street in its full glory.

Over the course of this weekend, 1750 artists will participate in its biggest programme yet across 46 different stages and creative zones.

The festival is a celebration of creativity, diversity, community, and independent spirit.

In 2019 the festival had to be moved off the street and indoors due to safety fears following the Christchurch mosque terror attacks.

Last year it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Festival director Gerry Paul said he was absolutely buzzing to be presenting CubaDupa in its entirety this year.

“We can’t wait to get back on the street and celebrate the awesome place that is Cuba St and Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

“We feel like the luckiest people in the world right now being able to hold a festival with over 100,000 people attending over a weekend.”

CubaSonic is this year’s biggest project.

It’s a 10-minute mass musical interruption designed to unite the entire site at the same time.

World-renowned New Zealand composer John Psathas has created the piece and will be joined by more than 300 musicians and 20 conductors on step ladders so they can be seen.

Psathas said he didn’t think anything like this has been done before.

The composition is set to a pre-recorded track that will be transmitted through 52 speakers spanning the entire length of Cuba St to keep everyone in time.

“It has been designed to give everybody that’s there a totally different experience depending on where they’re standing because the festival covers such a large footprint”, Psathas said.

CubaSonic will play at 5pm on Saturday and 2.30pm on Sunday.

Psathas said the idea of running it across two days was so people could stand in more than one place to get a different experience.

“Most people that come to it will never experience anything like it again in their lives.”

The CubaChapel will also be open for faux weddings and funerals.

“You can come along, dress up in costume, have a CubaDupa wedding or lie in a pimped up coffin and see what it’s like to be at your own funeral”, Paul said.

A priority event for the festival this year is Ngā Toi O Te Aro, which will be a space dedicated to kaupapa Māori.

The Te Aro Park stage and area will be transformed to showcase te reo Māori, Māori artists and tikanga Māori.

The festival takes place between March 27 and 28.

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