Press Release


By March 1, 2023 March 28th, 2023 No Comments

CubaDupa is back this summer with a diverse and exciting programme that is set to transform Pōneke into the ultimate weekend of creative expression. From 25-26 March, Wellington’s Cuba Street precinct will come to life with selected performances, interactive installations, roaming dance and music ensembles, extraordinary cultural experiences and delicious culinary offerings.

Today, CubaDupa has announced its second and final drop of its annual curated programming. This announcement adds another 92 theatre, music and dance acts to the 101 events already released, bringing the total programme to a massive 193 acts, representing well over 1200 individual performers. Some of Pōneke’s best restaurants and cafes also feature in this release, with specially curated festival menus on offer. 

There are an array of diverse offerings in CubaDupa’s extensive 2023 programme, spanning everything from food and drink to just about any genre of music you can name, and also including dance, visual arts, street parades, oddities and activations just for the littlest of the whānau. CubaDupa is renowned by locals and lucky visitors alike for the quality and diversity of its curation and a boundary-pushing vision that has in the past seen everything from aerialists strung between buildings, to mass-musical compositions featuring hundreds of artists, and even a wedding. The small team behind the festival work tirelessly every year to bring arts to the streets for free and create an unmissable experience in Pōneke’s summer calendar.

Chief Executive of Creative Capital Arts Trust and Director of CubaDupa, Drew James says: 

“This latest release brings the total number of events and performances to nearly 200 for CubaDupa 2023.  CubaDupa fills every nook and cranny of the Cuba Street precinct and also every minute of the 17 hours of the festival for one jam-packed free weekend. This extraordinary and eclectic blast of creativity will transport you to another world. To help navigate your journey, find a traveller to guide you to your perfect experience on our website and start exploring the unknown. Create and save your own wishlist to keep track of who you’d like to see this weekend—I know mine will be a very long list!”

Some of the artists announced today feature local queer POC collective Wellington Ballroom, fresh from a successful NZ Fringe Festival run, who will be hosting a special Ball at Te Auaha as a part of the festival’s programme. Following the release of her single ‘Lost and Sound’, Tāmaki Makaurau Pasifika soul artist Lou’ana has been added to the line-up, and is one emerging NZ musician not to be missed. Samara Alofa, Bbyfacekilla and AKSamba join the contingent of Auckland talent coming down to the capital for the weekend, supported by stellar homegrown additions, such as Linen, Dawn Diver, Niko Ne Zna and Crash Bandihoot. Tiki Taane is a name many will be familiar with, and fans will get the chance to catch him MC’ing at CubaDupa this summer. For all the blues lovers out there, Jack Hackett’s Capital Blues Stage is making a comeback this year with a line-up featuring nothing but the blues. 

For those looking for a more unique offering, check out The Queen’s Closet, who will be staging an interactive game of battleships with the public using baroque trumpets, or keep an eye out for the Compliment Cycle: a bike that wheels through the festival doling out compliments to strangers. Galleries in the festival zone and activations on site will see visual arts from artists such as Ann Shelton, Ben Buchanan, Janna van Hasselt and Hana Pera Aoake, to name just a few. Capital E! joins the festival programme with a range of children’s activities on offer, bringing their portable container on site with a number of activations sure to entertain all ages. Wellington Zoo will also be entertaining the young ones over the weekend with animal face painting and a giant snow leopard mascot, celebrating the zoo’s latest additions to their whānau. This year, dive into the portal at CubaDupa to experience a wide range of free creative programming.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that CubaDupa’s extensive arts programming was where this list ends, but there’s a whole array of delicious cuisine on offer too, sustaining lucky visitors over the festival weekend. The 2023 CubaDupa Street Feast, offers businesses in the festival zone the opportunity to move out onto the street for the weekend and try something different, with guaranteed crowds—and many relish this creative challenge. Argentinian restaurant El Matador are building a fire out on the street to create a sizzling woodfired BBQ, local favourites Scopa and 1154 Pastaria will be serving classic italian fare and Liberty—run by the team behind Logan Brown—are offering a portal to Spain complete with tapas, refreshing drinks and freshly shucked oysters, accompanied by ensembles from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performing Spanish music.

Another culinary activation that is set to be spectacular is Te Aro Eats, Uniting Kai Communities hosted by local restaurant Everybody Eats in collaboration with a collective of Wellington not-for-profit organisations. This is a collaborative, interactive dining experience brought together by a team of volunteers across Pōneke, featuring a community ‘long lunch’ with dining sessions run across the weekend. Each organisation will contribute to the menu, with the ingredients coming from local urban farms, local community gardens and from rescued food from the hospitality and food sector. 

Make sure you head to the CubaDupa website to see everything that is on offer. Get the whole whānau together and block out your calendars from 25-26 March for the best free weekend of the Wellington summer.

The oracle says: open the portal and dive into another world.

Second line-up artist announcement: 

AIMEE, AKSamba, Ann Shelton, Battelska Galactica, BBYFACEKILLA, Ben Buchanan, Birdfeeder, Birkenthot, Body Ocean, Breaking Beats Crew, Capital E, Cocktail Masterclass , Crash Bandihoot, CubaDupa’s Creative Collective Community Day, CULT SENSATION, Cumbia Blazera, Current Bias, Daisy Grae, Dawn Diver, Dirty Mike, DJ Coda, DJ Kerb, DJ Takas, Elisha Hobbs, Excavate | Chloe Loftus Dance, F.A.I.R.Y, Fluffcore, Fool Steam Ahead, Governor Jeff, Hana Pera Aoake, Taarn Scott & Riki Gooch, Heleyni, Hiwa, Hoot’n’Annies, How To Human, Hybrid Rose, ilish, Imon Starr, Ingrid Saker, Janna van Hasselt, Jen Kyle, Jilter Off Kilter, John Ward Knox & Isabella Loudon, Kaelahm, KATE BUTCH, King Lizard, Korana, Lacuna, Linen, Lou’ana, Maxwell Young, Meilange, Mel Stevenson, Mirror Ritual, Mishahesa, Model Home, Nelson Sambassadors, Neverwoz, Niko Ne Zna, NZ DnB, OdESSA, Oscar Lavën’s R”n’R Sax, Pete’s Nolacoaster, Phibes, Pthundäpus, Raucous Productions, Red Dog Saloon Band, Renaissancestrasse, Sam Duckor-Jones & Clarissa Lim, Samara Alofa, Search For Yeti, SHAN, Só Samba, Stoke Street, Stu x Wade, Te Aro Eats – Uniting Kai Communities, The Flying String Fellows, The Julie Lamb Outfit, The Polly Johnson Set, The Queen’s Closet, The Upbeats, Thom Monckton, Tiki Taane, Truth, TUMA, Vida, Vincent Vega 3, WCSCC Dragon Troupe, WE THE COLLATERAL, Wellington Ballroom, Wellington Zoo, Wesley John Fourie, WIDance.

Food and drink announcement: 1154 Pastaria, Aunty Mena’s Vegetarian Restaurant & Cafe, Ben & Jerry’s Wellington, Birdcage, Dirty Burger, El Barrio, El Matador, Eva, Everybody Eats, Fidel’s Cafe, Fortune Favours, Fred’s Sandwiches, Garage Project Wild Workshop, Jack Hacketts, JJ Murphy & Co, Kāpura Festival Bar, Liberty Restaurant, Olive, Pho Mo, Redmount, San Fran, Santeria Woodfire Pizza, Satay Palace, Scopa, Southern Cross Garden Bar, St Pierre’s Sushi, {Suite} Gallery, The Oaks Satay Noodle House, Top Kitchen. 

More food vendors will be announced in the coming weeks, keep an eye on the website & socials for updates.