These are the folks behind your favourite inner-city celebration.
Our new Chief Executive, Eric Holowacz, returned to Wellington in 2019 after a dozen years away. A seasoned cultural engineer, he who grew up in South Carolina and first migrated to New Zealand in 2002. Eric got his professional start at the South Carolina Arts Commission and Spoleto Festival, and his early career also included a 6-year tenure as director of a small town arts council. As Arts Programmes and Services Manager for Wellington City Council between 2002 - 2007, he helped develop and activate Toi Pōneke arts centre, produced the annual Artsplash Festival, edited the No. 8 Wire e-newsletter, assisted with the development of a Public Art Policy, and advised hundreds of creative people and projects. He also served as Producer and Artistic Director of Cairns Festival in Queensland, has led four American nonprofit cultural organisations, and founded a handful or residencies and artist colonies. Our new chief specialises in clever policy, interesting partnerships, and new programme development—always in celebration of cultural identity and sense of place.
Charlotte is the master of multitasking in the CCAT office, managing all things marketing for CubaDupa three years running, she is the tether between our festival family with her other hand in the NZ Fringe pie, managing their creative shenanigans for a second year and their 30th anniversary in 2020. Finding joy in structured creativity she is at home in the land of festivals and events, and will pick up the tools as an illustrator in her spare time….not that she gets much of that.
Gerry has recently taken over as Festival Director of CubaDupa after four years working as the Music Programmer and running the Moore Wilson’s Street Feast. Festivals are his happy place and he has played music at over 500 festivals in over thirty countries with some of the biggest names in folk music. Gerry co-founded Coastella Music Festival and NZ Irish Fest as well as having programmed the music for many Wellington events including Beers at the Basin, Beervana, Wellington Wine & Food and Budburst. As well as being always on the hunt for acts that will bring magic to Cuba St, Gerry spends his spare time plucking a banjo or spearfishing around Wellington’s coast and is always looking for new ways to cook kai moana - his latest favourite being paua & wild pork sausages!
Gussie is fresh to the CubaDupa team, having spent the last few years making sonic magic at Welly institution Radioactive.fm. Between touring the world with her bands Mermaidens and Earth Tongue, Gussie is a wizz on the emails and enjoys the fine art of spreadsheets. Having previously worked for Coastella and played plenty of festivals herself, Gussie is no newbie to the festival game and prides herself on packing the ultimate festival bum bag. Spare time is an anomaly, but if she does get any she’ll be playing guitar or day-dreaming about cheese.
Tim comes to CubaDupa for a second year to take on the role of Production and Operations Manager. The role encompasses traffic and waste management, staging, sound, security and everything in between. It’s the bones of the operation, allowing artists to shine and audiences to unleash their wild side in a safe and comfortable environment. Delivering the ‘Nuts & Bolts’ of some of New Zealand (and the world’s) most high profile and best loved events, Tim has recently worked on White Night Reimagined in Melbourne, Tawhiri’s ‘Second Unit’, the 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, ‘Pleasuredome’ the Musical, ICC Cricket World Cup and FIFA U20 World Cup Fan-zones, and the HSBC Seven Days of Sevens Festival.
Nicholas Balkum has been working in the world of live entertainment for 11 years. He was involved with some large scale music festivals in the US before relocating to Wellington, NZ. At this stage he is focused primarily on the rigging side of live entertainment, including touring with Cirque Du Soleil's Kooza, working with their aerialists and acrobats. Most recently he was the Head of Rigging for the 2019 World of WearableArt Award Show. He will be taking on the role of production manager for the first time and in his words is excitedly terrified.