All set for 'fabulous' festival

Glancing over the Festival of Colour booklet are the event's general manager Laura Williamson and...
Glancing over the Festival of Colour booklet are the event's general manager Laura Williamson and festival director Philip Tremewan, while the Pacific Crystal Palace is constructed in the background. PHOTO: SEAN NUGENT
The Festival of Colour is set to light up Wanaka once again for the next 10 days, and organisers believe it will bring the community together at an "especially important time".

The festival's director Philip Tremewan and general manager Laura Williamson were going through final preparations for the eighth edition of the event yesterday ahead of tonight's official opening.

This year features performances from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Dance Company and baroque musician Jordi Savall, among others.

It's a line-up that Mr Tremewan described as "fabulous" and both he and Ms Williamson were looking forward to once again delivering the arts offering to this part of the world.

"You can get this experience if you grow up in Wellington, but we don't usually get the chance to have this kind of experience here in Wanaka," Ms Williamson said.

The duo believed the festival would bring people together, which was "really important".

"The whole community comes out to get involved and that in turn creates cohesion within the community, it sparks people into having discussions about issues that are important to us, and getting people of all ages in the same room having the same experience - that's the big benefit," Ms Williamson said.

"We're about the stuff that really connects people and I think at this time in New Zealand history that's especially important," Mr Tremewan said.

The festival had "definitely grown" since it began 16 years ago, most notably the street performance programme this time around.

Mr Tremewan said the festival had begun to "spill over the edges" of its week-long programme, but he was focused on keeping it fresh.

"Over the years the buy in from local people has got stronger and stronger.

"Each festival has its own successes but you don't just want to repeat the successes from the previous time.

"You've got to evolve and the programme has got to change."

The festival opens tonight at 5pm with the opening of the Wai Water Wanaka exhibition at the Lake Wanaka Centre.

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