Since it was founded in 2015, CubaDupa, New Zealand’s largest outdoor festival, has been taking place. In 2020, the festival was forced to be canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This past weekend, CubaDupa took place making it the biggest outdoor, in-person festival to happen since the start of the pandemic.
The free event took up two whole days but it is reported that for just Saturday alone nearly 120,000 people attended the arts festival. CubaDupa is said to have held 19 hours worth of entertainment throughout the 50 stages which brought at least 500 performances. The event also held 20 parades that had included an estimated 1,750 different artists.
“The streets were pumping, and alive with colours, music, and tantalizing smells from the street feast. If I had to describe it, I would say it’s like Mardi Gras, meets Notting Hill, meets Laneways’ earlier festivals,” said Gerry Paul, Festival Director of CubaDupa, according to NME.
Earlier this month, the city of Wellington had lifted all of their remaining COVID restrictions which then allowed them to hold this in-person festival. Although the city is no longer mandating any certain restrictions, they still asked that each attendee consistently use hand sanitizer as they had their “sani-squad” patrolling the area to provide it.
The arts festival mainly consisted of local artists and performers from the New Zealand area. However, Chantal Claret, a U.S. actor and singer-songwriter, was among those who got the privilege to perform. Along with Claret, Black Pacific, a blues-reggae performer and Franck Monnet, a French artist, also contributed to the festival.
While large music festivals have yet to take place in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic, it seems like a lot of them have been booked for 2021 dates. Festivals such as Bonaroo, Hinterland and HARD Summer have all remained hopeful and booked their festivals to take place this year. However, with still so much uncertainty, some festivals like SXSW have decided to remain virtual while others have decided to completely cancel their scheduled 2021 dates. Coachella also has canceled their 2021 festival but currently has plans for the festival to resume in 2022.