Curtains close on Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival

By Alice Lock

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Full house: One of the many sold-out shows inside the Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent at this year's Hawke's Bay Arts Festival. Photo/ Tim Whittaker.
Full house: One of the many sold-out shows inside the Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent at this year's Hawke's Bay Arts Festival. Photo/ Tim Whittaker.

The curtains came down on the Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent last night as the Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival wrapped up for another year.

Tami Neilson and her Hot Rockin' Band of Rhythm rocked the festival right up to the final minutes in front of a full house at the spiegeltent.

Festival director Pitsch Leiser said it certainly closed with a big bang and was an uplifting way to finish.

"We started off with a bang opening with Daffodils and closed with a band who played some fantastic country and rockabilly songs," Mr Leiser said.

The festival was a great success, he said, and up to 12,000 people experienced everything from the cube to the school and festival shows.

"The quality of the programme was very diverse and I think we captured the hopes and wishes from last year and just tried to push the boundaries with the work we supplied."

The festival offered 45 shows, which challenged, demanded and rewarded festival-goers.

"I think some people stepped out of their comfort zone but were also richly rewarded."

He said the festival garden was a huge success and created a sense of community where people could come together and hang out with a glass of wine or have a bite to eat.

"It was a great addition, I think a lot of people enjoyed the atmosphere and ambiance of the spiegeltent and festival garden."

Mr Leiser said there biggest challenge for next year was to balance the focus of the spiegeltent and festival garden with the other venues.

"We had some stunning shows in Napier, for example, and we just need to learn how to carry that ambiance from the festival hub to the outside venues."

The festival had been an improvement on last year and Mr Leiser said his "special delights" were local productions Edge of a Raindrop and Mahara.

"Edge of a Raindrop was very relevant to current experiences with the water crisis and Kristyl Neho, the creator of Mahara, was brought up behind the Blyth Centre at Iona College where it was performed so it created some amazing images."

He said he absolutely loved being apart of the festival this year and was excited to see what next year would bring.

"My team worked so hard and the 130 volunteers worked beyond anyone's expectations, I give full credit to them. It was a fantastic and beautiful couple of weeks."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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