A "pop-up" version of the popular Escape! festival will take place in Tauranga next month after June's event was cancelled.

Tickets go on sale today for the sessions on October 17 and 18.

As long as New Zealand remains under alert level 2, tickets will be limited to 100 per paid event and all social distancing requirements will be observed within the auditoriums.

Should the country move to level 1 during the sales period, the remaining tickets will be released.

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Paul Cuming and a petrel. Photo / Supplied
Paul Cuming and a petrel. Photo / Supplied

The Tauranga Arts Festival Trust Board was adamant the city shouldn't miss out on the "little festival with big ideas" in 2020 and is staging the event out of its own reserves.

"We're choosing to take the financial risk as every board member firmly believes the arts are the heart and soul of community," board chair Kathryn Lellman said in a media release.

"We think people are ready for Escape!"

The talent on stage from the Tauranga area will include short story writer and GP Dr Andrew Corin, marine scientist Dr Kura Paul-Burke, small-town champion Karen Summerhays, hospital chaplain Matiu Best and bird expert Paul Cuming.

The cover of Tom Scott's new book. Image / Supplied
The cover of Tom Scott's new book. Image / Supplied

Other guests will be Tom Scott, who last month published a biography of Kiwi war hero Charles Upham, the only combat soldier to have been awarded two Victoria Cross medals; Te Radar, who plans a jaunt down some byways in our history; thriller writer Nikki Crutchley; Annette Lees and her social history of outdoor swimming; business commentator Rod Oram; and award-winning science communicator Shaun Hendy.

Panel discussion topics include the increasing use of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) alongside Western science; how to talk about death and dying with our loved ones; and a look back at 2020 from a political, business, sustainability and community point of view.

October 17 events will take place at Waikato University in Durham St, Tauranga, and October 18 events at Baycourt Theatre, also in Durham St.

Tickets, from the Tauranga Arts Festival website or Baycourt box office, include day passes and $5 tickets for students with ID.

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See the full programme online or pick up a printed copy from Baycourt, a library, Books A Plenty or selected cafes.

mages: Tom Scott cover; Annette Lees cover; Paul Cuming and petrel