The Nelson Arts Festival’s Inside Out will help bring the city alive for one night. Photo: Supplied.

Arts Festival to light up the night


The Nelson Arts Festival kicks off tonight at 5pm with Night Vision, when galleries will open late and performing artists will roam the streets.

Night Vision is a free whānau-friendly event that is new to Nelson Arts Festival in 2020.

It is inspired by the international phenomenon White Night (Nuit Blanc), where the city comes to life with art exhibitions, performances, interactive events, installations, and artists-in-residence – all happening in one energetic and transformative night.

Look out for the Night Vision logo in the windows of participating venues and chalked on to the sidewalks, grab a map, and explore.

InsideOut’s cast of colourful, dynamic characters will accompany crowds between Night Vision venues. Larger than life and full of funky moves, this quirky cast will be brightening up Nelson’s streets.

Many more Festival events are scheduled for the month of October, including the literary-themed Pukapuka Talks, which take place from 20-28 October.

The varied and topical programme includes Our Grandfathers, a discussion about the fascinating novel written by Ian Trafford based on his grandfather’s WWI diaries.

During his childhood on a farm near Te Karaka, west of Gisborne, Ian Trafford’s father came home one day with his grandfather Alick’s secret First World War diaries.

In August, that story made its way into the world as the novel, Into the Unknown, in which the war unfolds through Alick’s eyes.

After the drama and tragedy of war comes the return home, and the efforts required to make a living while remaining steadfastly silent about the traumas of those terrible years – an unseen fight that continued and affected generations to come.

The story from the diaries was written on the couch, with lots of emotion, as if his old grandad, Alick, was sitting there as well.

Ian, who lives in Marahau, will discuss Into the Unknown on stage at the Suter Theatre on Sunday 25 October at 3.30pm with fellow Nelson-based author William Moloney, whose 2015 novel The Battle of Messines Road was also based on his grandfather’s WWI diary.

Pukapuka Talks have one double pass to Our Grandfathers to give away to the first person to email [email protected] Tickets are $16 (plus booking fee) and are available through EventFinda and on the Nelson Arts Festival website,, where you can find the full Festival programme.