Summer events kick off next week

By The Aucklander online

Auckland's summer events programme kicks off next week, with daylight saving starting this weekend.

This time last year, Aucklanders were enjoying the festivities around the Rugby World Cup and this year has the possibility of it all feeling a bit flat without such a major event.

But Auckland Council says there's plenty on this summer - and music, culture and festivals kick off the programme.

"This spring and summer, you'll be able to savour everything from performances by J.Lo's choreographer during the Southside Arts Festival through to recognising the centenary of the death of 'the father of Auckland' Sir John Logan Campbell as part of the Auckland Heritage Festival," says Mayor Len Brown.

Last year, 89 per cent of people surveyed at Auckland Council summer events said they loved the event they attended and 83 per cent would return the following year if it were held again.

The top two reasons for attending events were to spend time with friends and family, and to have fun.

Kicking off the programme is the Auckland Heritage Festival - an insight into the city's natural, cultural and built heritage through more than 200 events. The festival runs from September 29 to October 14, with activities including tours of historic sites, concerts, family-tree workshops, heritage walks, film screenings and lots of family activities.

(Download the Heritage Festival programme here)

What's coming up:

Ambury Farm Day (October 7): Urban Aucklanders get a touch of country in the big smoke. From sheep shearing and gumboot throwing to pony rides, farm animal feeding and sack races - come and experience a real working farm up close.

Southside Arts Festival (October 12): A month-long showcase of local talent and creative enterprise in fashion, music, art, theatre and dance. The festival has scored a real coup with internationally renowned dancer and choreographer Parris Goebel as this year's ambassador. The south Aucklander was named top female choreographer at this year's World of Dance Awards and has also been choreographing music videos for megastar Jennifer Lopez.

Cult Couture (October 20): One of the marquee events of the Southside Arts Festival, it features emerging designers push the boundaries of fashion in front of judges.

Living Room (October 26 to November 4): Aotea Square is the focal point for this annual public art event, choreographed by MaryJane O'Reilly. Performances include choreographed BMX displays, hip hop fused with digital video art, and a bus tour around the city centre with the Java Dance Company.

Parnell Festival of Roses (November 3-4) Set among the colour and vibrancy of newly bloomed roses, this free family festival features horticulture-themed craft and food stalls, and entertainment.

Then in December it's the beginning of all things Christmassy, with a wealth of community Christmas events around the region.

The Music in Parks summer concert series begins in the New Year running through until the end of March, with acts still to be finalised. 

But the Movies in Parks programme will only run limited movies in smaller locations. At a meeting on September 12, the council's Culture, Arts and Events forum confirmed it was not financially possible to fund a full programme for 2012/2013 like that seen in previous years, without "truncating" Waitangi Day events, Music in Parks and the International Festival. (See the minutes here). Council had already signalled it would cut the funding to the event this year, but revisited the issue after complaints.

However there may be better news for movie buffs next summer: At the same meeting, council agreed to look at ways it could fund free movies in parks for the 2013/2014 year. 

* More events can be found on the Auckland Council site

- The Aucklander

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