Press Release


By March 26, 2024 July 10th, 2024 No Comments

Whaea tō Taniwha! Ki te ahurei a CubaDupa! CubaDupa 2024 found the Wild of the capital, and brought the concrete jungle to life!

CubaDupa embraced the creative capital of Aotearoa through its 2024 festival once again. Throughout the streets of Pōneke on the weekend of 23–24 March, CubaDupa took over and provided exceptional art, music, culture, food, markets, street performances and more. Enchanting and stimulating acts were spread to every available nook and cranny in the Cuba precinct, offering something delightful to see for all attendees. More than 200 different performances, featuring 1470 performers, took place at the free festival across 42 programmed venues and zones.

This year CubaDupa’s theme was ‘Find Your Wild’. The diversity of the programme was a wild jungle with something new at every turn and artistic wonders everywhere you looked. Attendees dressed in every colour of the rainbow and performers lit up stages in all areas of the precinct. The festival hummed with energy and rumbled with the movement of the public. From noon to midnight on Saturday, and noon to late on Sunday, CubaDupa’s huge crowds filled the streets and embraced the concrete wilderness under the unbeatable Wellington sun: a fitting ode to the end of summer.

The Director of CubaDupa, Drew James, says: CubaDupa 2024 was a wonderful experience for everyone. Completely trouble-free, the streets were filled with people enjoying the artists on stage and on the streets, for a cacophony of sounds, sights and tastes. Wellington really turned it on for the weekend with perfect weather for dancing in the streets. Thank you to all of our supporters, artists and audiences for making CubaDupa such a success. The smiles and laughter from our audiences says it all!”

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau, Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon, Wellington Central MP, Tamatha Paul, and Auckland Central MP, Chlöe Swarbrick were all in attendance. At the Mihi Whakatau on the Ngā Toi o Te Aro stage, MP Tamatha Paul praised CubaDupa for displaying the strength of the arts industry in Aotearoa and for demonstrating the ability to host a sustainable, low-waste festival. 

Wellington Mayor, Tory Whanau, says: “CubaDupa showed the best of Wellington’s art, culture, hospitality and diversity. It is always one of my favourite events of the year, and shows exactly how spectacular it can be when we open up our streets to people.”

The Wellington Airport Ngā Taniwha stage was a highlight of the festival, hosting some huge acts such as the dynamic pop-duo, Foley, and soulful rapper, MELODOWNZ. Along with esteemed international artists, such as the modernised geomungo performer Gina Hwang from Korea, and sound and visual collaboration, Cascades by Franck Vigroux & Antoine Schmitt from France. The day performances kept the crowds grooving, with the help of Yaw Asumadu & Ozi Ozaa, Revulva, ORIKoL Live, Other Futures Big Band and much more. The Ngā Toi o Te Aro stage boomed with Aotearoa pride all weekend. Dedicated to kaupapa Māori and Pasifika music, the stage hosted engaging performances from Jordyn With a Why, Shepherds Reign, Lost Tribe Aotearoa and many more. The Southern Cross Carnival Central was electrified with samba music, salsa dancing, batucada groups, DJs and Brazilian BBQ bites, bringing Latin and South American flair. The Glover Park stage became an energetic playground, with exhilarating acts such as Ruwa, Soft Bait, ABRZY and WHO SHOT SCOTT. The Garage Project Wild Workshop stage kept it consistently slick on Saturday with a stacked line-up of women and non-binary artists, and ZM’s Silent Disco got the crowd dancing in their own little bubble with their specially-curated Saturday night playlists.

All over the festival there were areas dedicated to creation and expression. These ranged from the Wānanga area at Te Pā House, The Opera House—a place to learn about Māori culture, weaving, games and more—to the Kidzone, stationed on Leeds Street—a place for families to take a break and for kids to get creative! The FreshChoice Street Feast took over the streets with a staggering 56 different food vendors offering innovative culinary delights. The Costume Cave held a pop-up on Ghuznee Street to encourage attendees to dress for their wild side. Hannah’s Courtyard was a hub for circus, dance, and street performances, with COLOSSAL’s Dream Garden, BTD B*tches, and Real Levitation from French group, L’immediat. Ghuznee Street East hosted a huge variety of street performances such as The Giant Balloon Show from UK artist, Dizzy O’Dare, street jazz trio Iskra, and the incredible showcase of skill and humour from Korean duo, Momggol, with their balancing act on steel hemispheres and ladder, Impulse. Nearby, Australian artist Thom Buchanan live-painted a huge mural installation the size of a shipping container, bringing colour and creativity to the Kai Court area.

In true CubaDupa fashion, there were multiple roaming parades that the public were invited to join into. Four batucada groups paraded through the streets, each with their own dress-up theme, highlighting them amongst the large crowds and bringing the vibes. Us led people through the streets in a mass-movement demonstration, choreographed by Chloe Loftus. CubaDupa also introduced Sunday crowds to Uke-a-Dupa—the first ever mass ukulele parade showcase at the festival. Multiple ukulele groups of all ages were stationed over the Cuba precinct, and came together as a parade, ending with a collaborated performance at the Glover Park stage, featuring more than 200 performers.

CubaDupa was held as a free event on Saturday March 23rd and Sunday March 24th in a fully pedestrianised Cuba Precinct, in Wellington. This free-to-the-public event was possible because of ongoing support from Wellington City Council and numerous sponsors and partners of CubaDupa.