There has been a flurry of ticket sales for this long weekend's Escape! Festival, only the second of its kind in Tauranga, which opens at Baycourt today.

Organisers said there was something for everyone at the festival - a weekend of discussion about current affairs, food, travel, reviewing and an insight into New Zealand writers.

Festival director Claire Mabey said she loved the programme they had this year and ticket sales showed other people did too.

Ms Mabey said Don't Mention the Flag at 4pm on Saturday was the festival's centerpiece because it tackled some big topical subjects and allowed audience participation.


The discussion featured former cabinet minister Margaret Wilson, business commentator Rod Oram, Awanui Black from the Tauranga Moana Iwi Leaders Forum, and Charlie McDermott, general manager of Auckland's Basement Theatre.

There would be no shortage of interesting speakers and guests Ms Mabey said, including renowned Kiwi chef Peter Gordon, award-winning scientist Siouxsie Wiles and anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond.

"We hope people sample across our buffet of talent," Ms Mabey said.

"A festival is an easy way to try out speakers and subjects, learn new things and escape from the everyday world for a while."

But it was not just discussions, there would be a Shakespeare play and musical performances.

The Incubator has kitted out Baycourt's foyer into a living room and Ms Mabey said there would be food trucks and a coffee cart outside.

There would also be free events, including storytelling on Baycourt's front lawn on Saturday and Sunday and the Human Library Project, a unique social project where people could "check-out" people as you would books and learn about them through conversation.

- Visit for the full programme.

- Tickets are available from or Baycourt.

Cracker long weekend forecast

Tauranga is in for a perfect winter weekend.

Crisp, sunny weather was forecast from today until the end of the long weekend.

The Metservice has predicted fine weather with light winds and highs of 15C or 16C until Monday.

The overnight lows are expected to hit 6C for the next couple of days rising slightly to 7C on Sunday and 9C on Monday.

While the weather looked likely to hold for the long weekend, it is expected to pack in next week.

Tuesday is forecast to be cloudy with rain predicted through to the end of the week.

Escape! Festival:

* When: Friday June 3 - Monday June 6

* Where: Baycourt Community and Arts Centre, 38 Durham Street, Tauranga

* Restrictions: All ages welcome

* General Admission: $20.00

* Tickets available: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

* Free events on Baycourt Lawn Saturday and Sunday