Auckland festivals return: Cultural events and concert organisers confirm gigs to go ahead in 2021

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Auckland’s K-Festival oragnisers are hoping the event can go ahead after it had to be postponed twice last year. Photo / Supplied

Organisers of K-Festival are hoping it will be a case of third time lucky, and are keeping “fingers and toes crossed” that the event will go ahead in February after it was cancelled twice last year as a result of Covid-19.

Cultural events and concerts are back on the calendar despite the pandemic, and organisers and performers hope the country will remain at alert level 1, where there is no limit on numbers attending gatherings.

Since the start of last year, cultural events including Auckland’s three largest – Pasifika, Lantern Festival and Diwali – have been cancelled or modified because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will mark the start of Chinese New Year festivities this Saturday at the ASB Showgrounds. Photo / Dean Purcell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will mark the start of Chinese New Year festivities this Saturday at the ASB Showgrounds. Photo / Dean Purcell

K-Festival organiser Gio Jin, 40, said it was “heartbreaking” when they had to announce the second cancellation just days before the event in November.

“We had no choice because one of our food-catering partners was embroiled over an incident where a positive Covid-19 case had visited their restaurant, and our top priority was to keep everyone safe,” Jin said.

“But we have plenty of support and we are keeping our fingers and toes crossed that this time, finally, we will be able to go ahead.”

Entertainer Hannah Fang will rock the stage at Phoenix Cabaret on February 13. Photo / Dean Purcell
Entertainer Hannah Fang will rock the stage at Phoenix Cabaret on February 13. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland’s largest Korean festival, where upwards of 10,000 are expected to attend, will now take place on February 20 at the Eventfinda Stadium in Wairau Valley.

Highlights will include performances by New Zealand-born K-pop dancer Rina Chae and her crew, singer Elliye, Nova artists and the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.

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The Chinese New Year Festival & Market Day festival at ASB Showgrounds this Saturday will mark the start of an eventful month of festivities, celebrations and entertainment.

Auckland Pride Parade will return to Ponsonby Rd on February 20. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
Auckland Pride Parade will return to Ponsonby Rd on February 20. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will partake in an “eye-dotting ceremony” of Chinese lions to mark the start of celebrations.

Chinese New Year, the Year of the Ox, falls on February 12 this year.

The Lunar New Year celebrations will close with the return of the four-day Auckland Lantern Festival, which will take place from February 25 at its new location on Captain Cook and Marsden Wharves.

Russian singer/song writer Marina Bloom will perform at the Tuning Fork on February 4. Photo / Dean Purcell
Russian singer/song writer Marina Bloom will perform at the Tuning Fork on February 4. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland’s Pride Parade, celebrating the city’s rainbow communities, will also return on February 20. The parade will travel south down Ponsonby Rd from Three Lamps to Western Park.

Local Russian singer Marina Bloom, who had to cancel a national tour and sold-out concerts last year and turned it into a home concert at her residence, is thrilled at getting a chance to perform in front of an audience again.

Bloom, whose music is described as “world melodic pop” was on tour when news of the first lockdown broke and the tour had to be cancelled.

Auckland Lantern Festival resturns, but will take place this year at Captain Cook and Marsden Wharves. Photo / Nick Reed
Auckland Lantern Festival resturns, but will take place this year at Captain Cook and Marsden Wharves. Photo / Nick Reed

Over lockdown she has written several songs including one called “In Love with Life”, which she dedicates to those who have been emotionally affected by Covid-19.

“Many people have been impacted hard directly or indirectly by the virus, and I want to give everyone a tune that makes them happy and lift their spirits the way it did mine,” Bloom said.

She will perform the song in public for the first time at her “Open Your Soul” concert at the Tuning Fork on Feb 4.

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Local violinist rock star Hannah Fang has also confirmed her “Hannah Fang and Friends” show will now take place at the Phoenix Cabaret on February 13.

“I am so nervous about the virus, and really hope New Zealand will continue to remain safe so normality can return,” Fang said.

“So excited that my show will be going ahead.”

Fang announced on her Facebook Page that the show will feature a full string orchestra, a rock band, electronic synthesiser and a hip hop dance crew.

Busy month of fun

Jan 30: Chinese New Year Market and Festival Day, ASB Showgrounds.
Feb 4: Marina Bloom Open Your Soul, The Tuning Fork.
Feb 13: Hannah Fang and Friends, The Phoenix Cabaret.
Feb 20: Rainbow Pride Parade, Ponsonby Rd.
Feb 20: K-Festival, Eventfinda Stadium.
Feb 25-28: Auckland Lantern Festival, Captain Cook and Marsden Wharves.

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