Councillor Gaile Noonan, left, with Nelson Arts Festivals’ Charlie Unwin and Sophie Kelly, putting up posters from the last 20 years in the Refinery Gallery. Photo: Tim Cuff.

Arts fest turns 20


Nelson’s Arts Festival will celebrate 20 years this October, with 85 events over 12 glorious days.

The programme for the festival was officially launched on Friday night, with tickets now on sale.

The festival will run between October 16-27 and feature 85 events, from the popular masked parade to theatre, dance, music and comedy. Among the highlights is a readers and writers session with Man Booker Award winner Eleanor Catton.

Nelson City councillor Gaile Noonan says the council is very proud to present the country’s longest running regional arts festival. “The festival started as a small collection of events to support the World of Wearable Arts. Today, it is a sophisticated 12-day celebration, hosting up to 140 visiting artists and performers, and attracting 12,500 people to ticketed events.”

Nelson Arts Festival Director Sophie Kelly, says this year’s birthday line-up includes a wide range of works to suit a whole combination of tastes.

To book tickets, visit