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 the first drop of its annual curated programming. Over 100 theatre, music and dance acts representing more than 900 performers already feature in this announcement, and with more yet to come, we are seeing just a peek of the world Wellingtonians are set to dive into over one jam-packed weekend. 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: 

“The portal is open! We are ready to take you on a journey into the wonderful world of CubaDupa. This first drop of artists and creative projects encapsulates the diversity and variety we will bring to the streets of Wellington in March 2023. With 28 stages and creative zones, hundreds of events representing something for everyone, look to our Portal Guides to help you navigate the perfect journey for you. Thanks to all of our brilliant team, artists, funders, sponsors, Cuba community and true believers that have got us through the last few years. Let’s celebrate together!“

Some of the artists announced today feature musicians such as acclaimed songwriter and performer Anthonie Tonnon, renowned modern soul magician Mara TK, Dunedin surf-psych-rock quartet Koizilla, popular indie act Daffodils, Japanese-American Multi-Instrumentalist Rachel Andie, Silver-scroll-winning band Lips, tāonga puoro genre-bending storytellers Aro, dynamic hip-hop artist Jujulipps, the inimitable Disciple Pati, energetic alt-pop artist Theia—who will also present her moving reo rangatira project Te Kaahu, Sam Manzanza’s huge 15-piece Mass Cuba Street Afrobeat Band, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, to name but a few. 

Not to be missed at the festival is also a special commissioned piece led by Riki Gooch, Te Hou Nui, featuring more than 100 musicians from all backgrounds and stages of musical development. The overall ensemble will be divided into four and given a conductor, and musical ‘smoke signals’—a concept inspired by the Māori method of lighting a fire to create smoke to claim land for the creation of Pa—will be used to generate a call-and-response activation that creates an uplifting and connecting symphonic experience.

Some of the performing arts coming to Wellington’s streets for the festival includes appearances from artists such as the unparalleled ballroom group Wellington Ballroom, Pasifika Street and Contemporary dance from Shifting Centre, a Bollywood-fusion Parade presented by Shivam Dance Academy, Batucada from Wellington Batucada, stunts from aerial suspension carnival queen Lizzie Tollemache and circus theatre from The Dust Palace. 

There is something magic to be discovered throughout Cuba Street and all its surrounding laneways. From delicious cuisine and street food from local restaurants, family-friendly activities, relaxed social zones, award-winning Aotearoa musicians, circus and cabaret delights right up to sunset dance parties, let CubaDupa transport you to another world that’s sure to have something for everyone. 

Make sure you head to the CubaDupa website to see the first list of artists on offer and keep an eye out for the next programme announcement in February. 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.

Complete first line-up announcement: AJA, Alice Agnes, Anthonie Tonnon, Aro, BBmage, Blue Soul Brass Band, BTD B*tches, Caught Inside, Chase Woods, Cold Ceiling, COLOSSAL, crone, Crying Club, Daffodils, Dale Kerrigan, DARTZ, Deco Dance, Disciple Pati, El Jaguar, Elastic Coitus, Eli Superflyy, Elliott Dawson, Fall Of Man, Fat Dick, Footnote New Zealand Dance, Gabriel Bond, Girl Best Friend, Glitz Club, Hip Hop x Strings, Idhayam: Indian Fusion Collective, Indy Skies, Jackson Cordery, Jake Clarke, Jujulipps, Kāpiti Art Studio, Kiko, Kirsten Te Rito, Koizilla, Le Dance, Lips, MĀ X WYNONA, Mara TK, Mariachi Aotearoa, Mass Cuba St Second Line Orchestra, Mikeyy, Movement Of The Human, MR MEATY BOY, Munkhouse, Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington, PHINEY, Pothos, Proteins of Magic, Rachel Andie, raptAGOG, Recitals, Rella, Resilience Training: Tidalectics – Olivia Webb with Noel Meek, Richter City Rebels, Rob The Bank, Rod Salinas, Rollicking Entertainment, Rose Lubransky, Sam Manzanza’s Mass Cuba Street Afrobeat Band, SheHatesJacob, Shifting Centre, Shivam Dance Academy NZ-SDANZ, Shut Up & Dance, Sinjin, Sofia Machray, Soft Plastics, Sol Mortvvs,Somi Kim, Sound Bath, STEFROSE, Sure Boy, Tahini Bikini, Taikoza Wellington, Tauranga Samba and Sambatron, Te Hou Nui – Composed by Riki Gooch, TE KAAHU, The Dust Palace, The Tiwhas!, Theia, This Silent Divide, Tia Ward, Twice As, Unidos de Aotearoa Samba School, Varda, VNESS, Waguan, Wellington Ballroom,Wellington Batucada,Wet Denim, Will McClean, Young Gho$t (Live), Yurt Party, Zoe Moon, デーモン Astari.