Wellington turned out in droves for the most wonderful festival of the year, Cuba Dupa!
Our town loves a party and Cuba Dupa is the best of the lot! Glittery, exciting and colourful this is WELLINGTON'S FESTIVAL. Super-inclusive, free to attend and perfect for all ages, Cuba Dupa simply cannot be beaten, even if it does rain a little on the day. To paraphrase S-Club Seven "No one parties like a Cuba Dupa Party!"
Matt and I decided to pay a visit as well, to try some food, see some friends and watch the amazing performances running all day. Of course, we found the most delicious food, the craziest costumes and the most passionate people (Cuba Dupa ran all Saturday from 12 pm to 12 am yesterday and is on today from 11 am until 6 pm so make sure you go down and check it out!!). It's hard to put into words how epic Cuba Dupa is. But naturally, I'll give it a shot! Here are my top three reasons why Cuba Dupa is a festival you can't miss!
1. Love is in the AIR
Cuba Dupa is a time that people come together and catch up over sublime food, festivities and music. Yesterday, I ran into so many friends, including lovely Miss Jaye Glam Morgan and Anna Dean, former Resident interviewees. I saw my school friend Mealz who I went to Nelson with and her fab husband Cory. I caught up with my hairdresser at the opening of the new Matt Forsman salon on Marion Street. And the best of the best was meeting two lovely readers of my blog, Anna and Demi, my favourite part of the evening. Only Cuba Dupa could make it possible to see all these wonderful people in one day.
Like me, you might not have expected to run into your old friend or to make a new one, but suddenly its the middle of the afternoon and you're onto your third slice of pizza at Scopa. Wellington is a small community, with many diverse people who work together, whether it is the lawyer who sets up the lease for the contractors building a stage or the woman who fries the dumplings downtown. We all are connected. Cuba Dupa is about literally getting everyone together, in the same space, and those people dancing to the same beat for a whole weekend.
Heading to Cuba Dupa is about feeling the love of 100,000 new and future friends. It cannot be underestimated, and the atmosphere is amazing.
2. Wellington's BLOODY BRILLIANT talent is on display!
You might not know that your gym trainer can ride a unicycle or your neighbour is a drag king. But you'll find out if you head to Cuba Dupa. From art to music, to clowning, juggling, marching and drumming and everything in between, Cuba Dupa has it all. Yesterday there some amazing performances, some of which are on Sunday too, like the VIrtual Conductors Experience (SO GOOD), Zero Cool on the Garage Project Stage on Marion Street (sadly just Saturday), Niko Ne Zna, on 12 - 12:30 on the Dixon Street West stage on Sunday, and the Lemon Bucket Orchestra. Check out all the amazing performances on their site, here. You can also personalise your own itinerary so you know where you need to be, and when, with the Itinerary tool on Cuba Dupa Website.
There's also a huge amount of other varieties of talent on display, like the Parrot Dog x Cuba Dupa Limited Edition Beer. They say "Taste a magical playground of delight, sound and flavour in this Extra Pale Ale brewed with especially pale malts and a generous dose of hop diversity." I say "It's delicious!" Branded with Cuba Dupa labelling, this is a very tasty short-run drop which you will want to steal a case of. I think that it is so fantastic that the talent in Cuba Dupa as an event can be mashed up with the business and beer-brewing talent of Parrot Dog - legends in Wellington coming together.
3. The Food & Drink is OFF THE HOOK
Cuba Dupa wouldn't be Cuba Dupa without AMAZING food. Yesterday alone we went to Noble Rot Wine Bar, Scopa, and Rogue and Vagabond. And that felt like a paltry effort. Today, we're planning on visiting Havana, The House of Dumplings, Plum and Midnight Espresso. Yes, we're ready to EAT!
Even more awesome is that this year, Moore Wilson's has come to the party, Wellington's favourite wholesaler of food and boutique supermarket. The Moore Wilson's Street Food Festival celebrates the vibrant diversity of Cuba Street's world-renowned hospitality. With over 100 street stalls lining the Cuba Quarter, there is something for everyone; experience your favourite restaurants in a new dynamic as they spill into the streets, stay hydrated at any of our outdoor licensed areas, shop your favourite boutiques in the heart of the action and don't forget the beloved Wellington Night Market in lower Cuba. You'll find so many favourite places to eat, like Satay Malaysia, HeyDay Beer, Tulsi, Rasa, Whistling Sisters Beer, El Matador and many, many others. YAAAAS QUEEN!
So there you have it! The top reasons you need to get down to Cuba Dupa today. But you didn't really need anymore did you?
Seriously though, let's take a moment to appreciate all the hard work that goes into pulling a festival like this together. The Cuba Dupa team are wonderful, hard-working individuals, who have slogged their guts out so we can have a good time. Also, massive ups to the people of Cuba Street who are so incredible and have helped to make this festival possible.
Also, I saw that good old Justin Lester was out last night - he deserves a shout out too! Well done team Cuba Dupa!
Now, I'm off for those dumplings...
This post was sponsored by Cuba Dupa, which is magic because I am SUCH A FAN OF THEM. As usual, all opinions are my own.