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Luminate Festival

Shining a light at Luminate The Takaka Hill festival attracts thousands to an eight-day immersion of transformational activities. Shelley Grell explains what makes the biennial event so unique. PHOTOGRAPHY LISA ISMAEL

“We look for a strong level of musicality from musicians who can bring unique and diverse styles ...” JU LES HARPER, CO-FOU NDER

A staggering 200 musicians will play at the festival, including the popular and high-energy gypsy dance bands Hello Tut Tut and Kallidad from Australia, and Klezmer Rebs from Wellington. My Baby from Netherlands is also returning in 2019. “Luminate is about original music, not cover bands,” says co-founder Jules Harper, who oversees the production and organisational side of the event. “We look for a strong level of musicality, from musicians who can bring unique and diverse styles, to bands that can merge the genres, such as jazz and gypsy. “Both My Baby and Kallidad have been playing at huge events in Europe and have become quite well-known. My Baby played at our last two events to a massive dance floor. They had a big response and since then we’ve seen them take off. Their heart-centred dance music has a pure spirit of uplifting joy that really resonates with people. That’s what we’re looking for in bands.”

Diverse styles on offer

The five music zones at Luminate feature a mix of world music, gypsy, jazz, reggae, folk, dub and more. The main Lunasa stage is where most of the bands play throughout the day. From midnight the electronic producers take over, with headline acts from overseas. “It’s really important that we have that mix of music,” says Jules. 40

Photo: Marlborough Museum

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5000-strong community gathers at the top of Takaka Hill to reenergise through music, arts and inspiration. Luminate Festival ranks amongst the top immersive and ecological festivals in the world and it’s on again this summer, in its protected oasis at Canaan Downs. From January 30, the hilltop village of tents, campervans and stages will be buzzing for eight days. Managing this festival’s huge and diverse programme over such a long period is an amazing feat. “Luminate is an opportunity for all participants, from locals and visitors, young and old, to connect with a family-friendly community,” says co-founder Rita Davies, who manages the festival’s infrastructure. Music, arts, culture and knowledge-sharing create the potential for “transformational experiences, whatever they may be”. The schedule is packed with day and night activities for everyone, from multi-zonal musical acts and learning experiences, to circus performances, workshops, cafés and markets.

WildTomato December 2018  

Artisan Producers | Collectives | Luminate | Beach Apparel | Rarotonga | Sabine Hut | Holden Acadia | Award-winning Art | The Children Act |...

WildTomato December 2018  

Artisan Producers | Collectives | Luminate | Beach Apparel | Rarotonga | Sabine Hut | Holden Acadia | Award-winning Art | The Children Act |...