Only spectacle is guaranteed

Spectacle Presents: Spectacle has been described as an "immersive, participatory, pan-art show"....
Spectacle Presents: Spectacle has been described as an "immersive, participatory, pan-art show". PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The Dunedin Fringe Festival is officially under way and if you’re looking for something to see, hear, or do this weekend, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Spectacle Presents: Spectacle, on the other hand, isn’t something to see, hear or do: it’s all three. Described as an "immersive, participatory, pan-art show", the event is shrouded in mystery, but one thing we do know for sure is it involves some serious musical chops.

I spoke with ringleader Jess Covell and music director Chris Miller to try to find out more.

What was the concept behind the show?

JC: The theme is spectacle. The idea behind Spectacle, as an entity, is if this goes really well I’d like to do it again, with a different theme. And having Spectacle Presents: Spectacle was a suggestion from someone as a kind of self-titled album, like a debut I suppose.

What will cause that variation?

CM: There’s a bit of improvisation which will change what’s happening, interaction from the crowd and stuff. But also the workshop on the Saturday is going to be constructing another piece which will be shown on Sunday.

It sounds very multidisciplinary. What sort of form will the show take?

JC: It’s more, I guess, gallery type ... but not. It’s more casual than the usual exhibition.

CM: There will be performance elements with the dance and the music throughout the evening, but it will be a standing sort of event.

I think it’s kind of a gig meets an exhibition meets something else a bit weird.

For the music, it sounds like you’ve assembled a bit of a super-group with members of Koizilla and Soaked Oats and more. How did that come about?

CM: Well, I know lots of musicians around town and I sort of made a little rule to start with — try and play with people I hadn’t played any musical projects with before. Turns out I played in Space Bats Attack originally with Josh Nicholls, but that was quite a short stint before we shifted away from Dunedin, so I didn’t really count that one.

I quite like trying out things with different people and doing some new projects. I know most of these people outside of music ... and just thought that would be fun to try and play together and see what would happen.

Who would you say should go to this?

JC: I think anyone and everyone should go to it! We’ve tried to sort of make it something that would be accessible to anyone and everyone, which is why we’re also streaming it.

CM: I think it would be family friendly, there’ll be something there for any kind of creative person, I’d say.

JC: We’ve also got some live local musicians playing as well ... Adelaide Cara is going to play on Sunday, a short 20 minute set to round the evening off.

And it’s free?

JC: It is, thanks to the DCC Arts Grant Creative Communities funding and we also had a successful Boosted campaign, so we’re able to cover all of the costs and present a free event, which is pretty cool.

The gig

Spectacle Presents: Spectacle, Sunday, March 21, 6pm, featuring Adelaide Cara.

Workshop, today  from 10am-2pm (register at

For streaming links check the Facebook event page.

For more from Fraser Thompson go to

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