Festival Playground, Silo Park

: The waterfront is where Aucklanders come out to play, so the city's annual arts festival has set up a new precinct to reflect our harbourside hang-out. The Festival Playground showcases an adventurous line-up of music, art, food and family activities starting tonight with Eru Dangerspiel, a supergroup led by former Trinity Roots drummer Riki Gooch. Brought together for an epic night in 2009, it returns for a one-night only evening of heavy disco and funk featuring Mara TK, Laughton Kora, Ria Hall, Anna Coddington, Mike Fabulous, Joe Lindsay, Jonathan Crayford, Chip Matthews, Julien Dyne, David Long, Tony Laing, Lewis McCallum, Brent Parks, Ned Ngatae, Submariner and Scott Towers. Eru Dangerspiel, Auckland Arts Festival Playground, tonight from 8pm

You watched Neil Finn record his sensational new album Out of Silence live on the internet last year; this weekend you have the chance to see him perform the songs live. If you saw any of the four recording sessions Finn livestreamed then you'll know he was joined by a dazzling array of musical guests, many of whom will be joining him for the gigs. We're talking SJD, Ju8lia Deans, Lawrence Arabia, Reb Fountain, The Phoenix Foundation's Samuel Glynn Scott, Harper Finn, EJ Barnes, Sandy Mill and Jimmy Metherell. And we can't forget that the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra will be there too.
These promise to be shows to remember and, best of all, you've got two shots to not miss them. So don't! Neil Finn Out of Silence, AAF Festival Playground, Friday & Saturday

American RnB/Soul singer Emily King returns to the AAF, leading an incredible triple-bill show that includes our very own soulful star Teeks. New York native King is a Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter who's collaborated with everyone from Alicia Keys to Nas; she's no stranger to our festival, last performing here in 2015. King is also joined by New Orleans supergroup Tank and The Bangas, performing for the first time in New Zealand. And if you haven't been introduced to Teeks yet, familiarise yourself before it's too late — with his star firmly on the rise, he may be overseas more than he is home in the near future. Emily King/Tank and The Bangas/Teeks, AAF Festival Playground, Sunday from 7pm

OrphEus - a dance opera by Michael Parmenter with The New Zealand Dance Company. Photo / John McDermott
OrphEus - a dance opera by Michael Parmenter with The New Zealand Dance Company. Photo / John McDermott

The Civic

: Combining the power of dance, live music and theatre, acclaimed New Zealand choreographer Michael Parmenter and The NZ Dance Company have created a new dance opera which takes a slice of Ancient Greek history and myth, blends it with rousing baroque music and captures the eternal challenge of all artists: seek the familiar or venture into possibly dangerous uncharted territory? OrphEus — A Dance Opera, the Civic, Friday — Sunday

Stellar* performing at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards. Photo / Topic Images
Stellar* performing at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards. Photo / Topic Images

The Tuning Fork

: Stellar* provided the soundtrack to the turn of the century in NZ, with their 1999 album


remaining one of our greatest pop records of all time. After a knockout performance at the VNZMAs last year, the band have reunited for their first tour in eight years. Led by the ever-badass Boh Runga, their Auckland show promises to be a burst of sweet nostalgia as each original band member returns to the stage. Stellar*, The Tuning Fork, Friday