Five acts to catch at CubaDupa 2023 to see a bit of everything

By Shannon Harrison

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for Capital online.

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What becomes of a muso
with little to no musical
ability and an adolescence
spent obsessively band
blogging on Tumblr?
A music writer of course.
A regular Bspace two stepper
and San Fran balcony
shuffler, Shannon Harrison loves
a local gig – whether it’s
house, rock, indie or rap,
and (embarrassed as she
is to admit it) she still
loves to ‘fangirl’ over
a band or two. 

After a few years in an on-again, off-again relationship with the city (no thanks to the pandemic) CubaDupa is back from 25 – 26 March.

With almost 200 acts tough decisions will have to be made about what can be squeezed into one weekend.

To help you choose Shannon Harrison has created a must-see festival line-up, with an assortment of music, performance, dance, and art to fill your boots.


Sunday, 4pm-5pm
Flying Nun Reco
173 Cuba Street

From the womb, to the green room, much adored Pōneke band is Womb are an artsy family affair. Siblings Cello Forrester, Haz Forrester and Georgette Brown weave together dreamy synth pop, rhythmic riffs and allegories of love and loss, to deliver tunes you can both dance and cry to.

Wellington Ballroom

Saturday, 1:30pm-2pm
Wellington Airport Ngā Taniwha Stage
Swan Lane

I’ve been obsessed with the Vogue and Ballroom scenes founded by Black and Latino pioneers of the New York underground LGBTQI+ subculture.
Closer to home we have Wellington Ballroom, a collective of creative queer artists of colour fashioning their own iconic and indigenous brand of ballroom. So Shantay, make sure you stay around to see it.

Hip Hop x Strings

Saturday, 11pm-12am
Wellington Airport
Ngā Taniwha Stage,
Swan Lane

By this time in the day you will have probably clocked up a fair few steps, but don’t retire those dancing shoes just yet. See off night one with Hip Hop x Strings, featuring jazz and string quartet covers of favourite hip hop tunes.
The hip hop-meets-jazz super-band features Sam Notman, Miharo Gregory (L.A.B), Chris C.K (Raw Collective), Zoe Moon, Harry Scholes, and Louisa Williamson.

WE THE COLLATERAL Compliment Cycle

Roaming all weekend

Need a pocket-sized pick me up? WE THE COLLATERAL’s Compliment Cycle has just the thing. Essentially a typewriter on wheels, the cycle team are ready to turn your kind words into a little note for you to deliver to pal, co-worker, or maybe even your favourite barista. Ask the folks on the cycle to type out a souvenir of self-love to carry with you through the weekend, and beyond.

Mysterium Tremendum Et Fascinans – Sound Baths

Saturday + Sunday 1pm-3pm
Thistle Hall,
293 Cuba Street

Artists and musicians Neil Johnstone, Brendan Jon Philip, and Andrew Warren Curtis Smith have collaborated to deliver a piece of visual and aural surrealism inspired by the theory of the numinous.

In a nutshell the numinous is a sudden feeling of the existence of divinity or higher power. It could come about upon entering a spiritual space, or when your takeaway order arrives early.

Through immersive soundscapes and imagery, the artists highlight how art can fascinate (fascinosum), or bring about a sense of fear and uncertainty (tremendum).


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