Dab hand ready to take on booming festival

By Roger Moroney

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The Art Deco Trust's new festival director, Glen Pickering, pictured in Napier yesterday. Photo / Paul Taylor
The Art Deco Trust's new festival director, Glen Pickering, pictured in Napier yesterday. Photo / Paul Taylor

Four months ago, Christchurch-based Glen Pickering was embracing the colour, sounds, and packed streets and events, which were all part of the great Tremains Art Deco Weekend.

It was his first taste of the event but in 2017 he will get to taste it again - in a major way - as he will be the Art Deco Trust's new festival director.

He has taken over the role vacated by Jonathan Smith and is now into his third week and relishing being part of the Art Deco crew, and equally relishing the approaching Toyota Winter Deco Weekend.

It was while he was soaking up the unique Art Deco atmosphere back in February that he stopped by and chatted with Art Deco Trust general manager Sally Jackson and others in the team.

However, it was nothing more than a catch-up at that time, as he had known Mrs Jackson since the days he had worked as theatre manager for the Hawke's Bay Opera House before he moved to Christchurch to take on the role of events manager for the World Buskers Festival.

"I was also MC-ing a show here," he said.

A couple of months later, he took a call from Mrs Jackson who floated the idea of him taking on the festival director's role.

"I was really excited because it was such a great event."

He had done about 18 months with the busking festival, which attracted about 250,000 people over 10 days - so knows about big crowds.

Part of that role had been spending three months of the year travelling overseas seeking and booking acts. While that sounded just fine, it was tough for his wife, Claudine, and two youngsters.

So, for Wairoa-born Mr Pickering the answer was easy - he accepted the job and prepared to move back to his home province. "Opportunities like this are rare and I'm really excited by it. We love Hawke's Bay and it's really great to be back."

He said the annual summer festival event was now a major national and international event and at the point where it needed careful strategy and direction.

The prospect of handling such an event was not daunting - "it is exciting - I love it".

He said one of the strengths of such festivals was the support of the community and he would be looking at getting locals involved more, as well as ways of getting more younger people involved.

Mr Pickering said while the groundwork and foundations for the Toyota Winter Festival were effectively all in place, he was working closely to put some "finishing touches" to it. He said the event would grow, with some facets of it likely to find their way into the summer event.

"And I'm under way on the 2017 festival now - I came in to a truckload of emails from people who have already booked accommodation and they want to know what is going to be on the programme."

He is also already looking at the 2018 event which will be the 30th anniversary.

He described events organisation as "slow-burning" as they came to fruition six months to a year after being sparked up.

As a teenager, back at Wairoa College, he got interested in the arts and performing through the late Judy Galvan and has both acted in and directed shows, and that is set to continue.

"I haven't done any acting since 2011 but I've already jumped into a show at Theatre Hawke's Bay in September."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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