We're over the moon that one of our favourite festivals is celebrating an astonishing 20 years. The Lantern Festival lights up Auckland Domain, and welcomes in the Year of the Pig, with hundreds of handmade Chinese lanterns, more than 100 food stalls, music and dance, martial arts demonstrations and traditional arts and crafts. But even across the spacious Auckland Domain, the festival can get crowded so if you're more a fan of lanterns than crowds, go along tonight for Lantern Appreciation Night. There's no stalls, live entertainment or food but you may find it, well, a lighter experience.
Lantern Festival, Auckland Domain, tonight – Sunday
Bruce Mason Centre:
After touring China last year with the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the movers and shakers at Footnote New Zealand Dance wanted as many people here as possible to see what two companies, from opposite side of the Pacific Ocean, created. Thanks to the Asia NZ Foundation and China Cultural Centre, they start a nationwide tour in Auckland this weekend – and there's no set ticket price. Entry is by koha/donation. It's not every weekend you get to see internationally-acclaimed dance companies joining forces to present an exceptional dance triple bill timed to coincide with Chinese New Year.
Hemispheres, Bruce Mason Centre, Friday and Saturday
95bFM celebrates its 50th birthday on Friday with 95bFM Gold, a stacked gig at Auckland's Powerstation. The student radio station has unsurprisingly assembled a cutting-edge line-up that offers sounds old and new for bFM fans across the decades, including Beastwars, Coco Solid, Miss June and the DJs of the True School Hip Hop Show, bringing a roster of guest rappers with them, including Mareko, Dam Native, Swidt and Melodownz. The radio station has long been a champion of local music and are always the first to offer local musicians a launch-pad to share their sounds - so we'll be celebrating them as a cultural staple well into the night.
95bFM Gold, Powerstation, Friday
Auckland Town Hall:
Perhaps we shouldn't be speaking on Valentine's Day of failed love affairs but what do you do to recover from a broken heart? If you were a 19th century French Romantic composer like, say, Hector Berlioz then the answer was simple: write a symphony depicting your own beheading and end the piece with your ex appearing as the bride of the Devil (I think we can all agree it's very symoblic). The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra begins its 2019 season with a concert featuring Berloiz' Fantastique, imaginative British composer Thomas Ades' Violin Concerto Concentric Paths and Wagner's Die Meistersinger Overture. One for the romantics and the lovelorn.
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Fantasy, Auckland Town Hall, tonight
And speaking of the lovelorn, the heartbroken troubadour Marlon Williams plays the Villa Maria Winery on Saturday night and believe us, you need to be there. Why, you quite rightly, if foolishy, ask? Well... Firstly, this is the only show that sees him playing with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Secondly, he's enlisted living legend Don McGlashan and the beguiling Emily Fairlight to support. And finally, last year's record Make Way for Love was TimeOut's Album of the Year so to hear those songs, in that venue, with the APO is a once in a lifetime show. There's still some tickets left so snap them up. Gates open at 5pm. We don't sat this lightly but this gig is going to be unmissable. So don't miss it!
Villa Maria, Marlon Williams and the APO, Saturday