Whaea tō Taniwha! Ki te ahurei a CubaDupa!
CubaDupa returns to the streets of Pōneke for the biggest and most diverse street festival in Aotearoa on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th of March. For the duration of the CubaDupa weekend, the Cuba Street precinct will roar with art, music, culture, parades, interactive experiences, and life. Last year, we all stepped through the portal together. This summer, CubaDupa is encouraging you to join the experience and Find Your Wild as familiar city streets transform into a vibrant concrete jungle. Every corner of the site will brim with artistic wonder: a world of art and culture lurking just beneath the surface.
Now two months out from the festival weekend, CubaDupa announces its first release of the line-up for 2024. Carefully curated and expertly scheduled, the variety and diversity of acts at CubaDupa is unsurpassable. This year’s festival will pack the Cuba Street precinct with street performers and musicians from Korea, large-scale live painting work from Australia, afro-groove and jazz musicians from Ghana, French digital and sound artists, and naturally, many talented artists from Aotearoa performing every creative medium imaginable. As a free-to-attend festival, CubaDupa attracts thousands of visitors from all across the motu. The small team behind the mammoth event work devotedly to bring the festival to life every year and provide the unmissable experience that is CubaDupa.
Director of CubaDupa, Drew James says: “Every year we start with a blank canvas that gets filled with an extraordinary array of talent and arts that could only happen in the world of CubaDupa. This year we challenge audiences to “find their wild” and become part of the CubaDupa-landia experience. Thanks to the artists for their creative inspiration, our funders and sponsors for making the impossible possible, and an incredible team that makes it all happen.”
Music performances are a huge part of what makes CubaDupa the event it is today; The festival boasts impressive music line-ups each year, and this year is no exception. One of the local bands joining the CubaDupa stages is Yaw Asumadu and Ozi Ozaa, an Afrofunk/Highlife style ensemble of 11 musicians. Ghana-born Yaw Asumadu formed Ozi Ozaa in 2008, creating a funk and jazz packed band that is rife with sweet highlife and traditional African rhythms. Another prominent local joining the festival is Revulva, a femme-lead soul, funk, disco eight-piece from Pōneke. Revulva turns heads at their theatrical and epic live shows and have performed at multiple festivals since 2020.
Tāmaki Makaurau artists will not be missing out on the action, as the famed Foley and MELODOWNZ are both coming to play their tunes to the crowds. Innovative pop duo, Foley, arrived as fully-formed contenders on the world stage with their gritty, dance-able and fearless sound. A singular organism in duo form, their boundary-pushing formula bears all the gleaming hooks, infectious rhythm patterns and deft arrangements required for sensational performances. Māori/Samoan artist, MELODOWNZ has become a local community champion, proudly taking New Zealand rap to the world stage. MELODOWNZ is proof that thought-provoking, lyrical hip-hop is alive and here to stay.
Hailing from the glistening shores of Lake Taupō to the rugged coastline of the West Coast, Lost Tribe Aotearoa is coming to CubaDupa 2024 with a message of positivity and Kotahitanga. An eclectic mix of roots, dub, rock, ska and blues: Lost Tribe are well known for their high energy live shows and their contagious, uplifting vibes. MOHI, a dynamic seven-piece Māori neo soul, pop and funk band that creates an exhilarating fusion of ancient taonga and urban sounds will also be joining the festivities. Other acts not to be missed here are the inimitable Shepherds Reign, celebrated newcomer Jordyn with a Why, the whānau-friendly group Tom Knowles with Friends, and Waiata Māori Music Award winner, Amba Holly.
Other amazing musicians and bands announced in the first release line-up include Hearth, Iskra, PollyHill x Samara Alofa, Soft Bait, and WHO SHOT SCOTT, who will be playing at various stages and performance spaces throughout the festival.
Despite the scale of the music performances, the stages don’t hold monopoly over the CubaDupa weekend; Throughout the precinct there will be an abundance of street performances, interactive art installations and pop-ups. Announced today is the award-winning professional theatre partnership, Birdlife Productions. Through the use of puppetry, masks, music, and storytelling, Birdlife Productions produce original high-quality, hand-made street theatre for the whole whānau. Roaming the streets will be CubaDupa’s first-ever Uke-a-Dupa parade. A huge 23 groups made up of all ages will be stationed in different spots around the festival, parading their skills through the charming timbre of the ukulele. Eventually they will meet up to play a mass performance on the Wellington Airport Ngā Taniwha Stage!
As always, CubaDupa attendees will be able to satiate their hunger by visiting the Fresh Choice Street Feast inclusive of the 100+ food vendors available at the festival. Food trucks, pop-up stalls and local businesses will be awaiting you to taste their inspirational menus. You’ll also be able to take home a variety of treasures from any of the Cuba Street and surrounding businesses that are extending stalls out of their shops. Here you’ll be able to find clothing, music, art and more!
Abby Lyons, CubaDupa’s Festival Coordinator, says: ”The street music and theatrical performances are truly going to take over this year. We are so excited about our community engagement activations, such as Uke-a-Dupa!, and other exciting projects we have cooking up. The streets are going to be electrified with talent, with spectacular, whacky, wild and joyful work.”
Check the CubaDupa website (cubadupa.co.nz) to see the first list of artists on offer now and keep an eye out for the next programme announcement in late February. Get the whole whānau together and block out your calendars from 23 – 24 March for the most extraordinary free weekend of the Pōneke summer.
Find Your Wild at CubaDupa 2024.
First line-up announcement: Amba Holly, Birdlife Productions, Foley, Hearth, Iskra, Jordyn with a Why, Lost Tribe Aotearoa, MELODOWNZ, MOHI, PollyHill x Samara Alofa, Revulva, Shepherds Reign, Soft Bait, Tom Knowles with Friends, WHO SHOT SCOTT, Yaw Asumadu and Ozi Ozaa.