Covid-19 Updates

Attending Nelson Arts Festival during Covid-19

The risk of exposure to Covid-19 and transmission in New Zealand remains very real so we must continue to be vigilant. By adopting good public health practices, Nelson Arts Festival supports our country's efforts to minimise the impact of the virus on our community.

We are complying with the Events Sector Voluntary Code, which outlines what events managers can do to safely deliver events by following best practice expectations, which are based on Ministry of Health guidance to reduce Covid-19 related risks.

In the event that any further ticketed events are cancelled, ticket holders will receive a refund (less the small booking fee). For customers who booked online or over the Eventfinda Booking line, refunds will be actioned directly to the payment method used. This will happen automatically and you need not contact Eventfinda to action this. Depending on your bank it could take up to 5 business days to show on your statement. For customers who purchased from an Eventfinda agency or the Theatre Royal please return to that agency for your refund.

We will share updates about how we have adapted to support New Zealand's response to the Covid-19 pandemic below and also on the Festival Facebook page.


SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 - Continuation of Covid-19 Alert Level 2 leads to some cancellations; Labour Weekend events going ahead

Sadly, because it isn’t financially or logistically feasible to run ticketed events in venues under Level 2, the Nelson Arts Festival team won’t have sufficient lead time to deliver ticketed events in the first three weeks of October, so these shows have now been cancelled. All tickets purchased for cancelled shows will be refunded (less booking fee).

The good news is we’re going ahead with community events that are part of this year’s Nelson Arts Festival Ngā Toi Huatau - The Season for Arts programme, which will bring colour and vibrancy to public spaces in Nelson, Richmond and Motueka, as well as our literary programme, Pukapuka Talks. In addition, The Human Voice and Avantdale Bowling Club are also proceeding.

We’re delighted to be able to deliver the events we’ve put together in collaboration with other organisations, as well as promoting what our partners are doing under the Nelson Arts Festival – Ngā Toi Huatau umbrella. This year this includes all the galleries listed on the Night Vision event page, Multicultural Nelson Tasman, Nelson Provincial Museum, Show Me Shorts, The Refinery Artspace, Nelson Libraries, Arts Council Nelson, Nelson Live Poets Society, DeVille, The Workshop Bar and Brewery, Red16, Kismet and Uniquely Nelson.

Please note we are going ahead contingent on the NZ Government announcing a return to alert Level 1 by Thursday, October 1.


After carefully reviewing the impact of the current Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions, it is with great disappointment that the Nelson Festivals Trust has concluded that it is not possible to go ahead with the Mask Carnivale on Friday, October 30.

This decision was made yesterday, Thursday August 27, because more significant financial investment needed to start happening this coming week in order to ensure the successful delivery of the event. With so much uncertainty about ongoing government restrictions, the Trust determined it would be too risky to spend public money on an event that might not happen. This decision was primarily based on the fact mass outdoor public events are not possible in Level 2 and that uncertainty could remain for quite some time. The Trust’s decision is based on its commitment to be fiscally responsible with public funds and to guarantee participants’ safety.

However, the Trust voted to continue planning for the delivery of the rest of this year’s already reduced Nelson Arts Festival programme (part of Ngā Toi Huatau - The Seasonal Arts), based on the fact that most of the planning required for this has already taken place and we are only days away from revealing our programme.

The programme will be released online at on Tuesday September 1, with tickets on sale both on the website and on Eventfinda.

‘However, if Te Tau Ihu (the Top of the South Island region) does NOT return to Level 1 on September 6, this decision will be reviewed, ensuring safety and fiscal responsibility are once again considered,’ says Nelson Festivals Trust Chair, Brent Thawley.


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