The Southern Lakes Festival of Colour rolled like a well-oiled juggernaut, from its fiery Lake Wanaka beach bonfire on April 4 to its saucy conclusion with Lady Rizo and Hudson and Halls Live on Monday.
Not even the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s announcement of the potentially earthquake-prone Luggate Memorial Hall could stop the show, with Australian musicians Linsey Pollak and Lizzie O’Keefe continuing unperturbed with four renditions of Dangerous Song.
Director Philip Tremewan made excellent selections from Edinburgh Festival, including the smash hit Every Brilliant Thing and the hilarious How to Keep an Alien, giving the festival a welcome “fringe” feeling of diversity.
The confrontational community choir Sing It To Your Face was a local highlight, pitting four generations of Wanaka singers against each other/ Directors Jo Randerson and Julian Raphael just seven days to pull it together.
READ MORE * Festival of Colour: The Song Dispensary prescribes songs for Wanaka * Festival of Colour programme revealed * Tell me my name, poet Bill Manhire challenges Wanaka Festival of Colour * Q & A: Lady Rizo, New York chanteuse
Artists traversed the gamut of emotions, including depression, suicide, love, death, loss, and being a citizen of a really embarrassing country.
Comedian Jamie Bowen was one of many who made light of pain. His Heart Goes Boom/Head Goes Bang audience see-sawed between tears and laughter as he lurched from crisis to crisis, earning a few walk outs but several hugs afterwards.
Chamber music group Ensemble Paladino’s rendering of mathematically complicated Bach compositions was great for massaging the knots in your brain, while singer Hannah Griffin and her musical team provided a gorgeously gentle hour of intrigue in Tell Me My Name.
The programme had 31 individual events with some showing more than once. Some extra shows were scheduled when tickets sold out.
Artists also ran school workshops and did street performances.
I regret not getting to many of the thought-provoking Aspiring Conversations speakers. I am looking forward to Aspiring Conversation’s return to Wanaka in April 2018, as well as the next Festival of Colour in 2019.