Are you ready to get right amongst the arts action?

There are many ways to participate and experience the Festival this year - take a look at our amazing line-up of unmissable arts experiences and events here.

Our biggest participatory event is a long-time Festival favourite: the 2023 Mask Carnivale will return on Friday 27 October. And you can register NOW to be a part of this joyous inner-city explosion! 
We'll see you at the street party of the year, Whakatū.

We're thrilled to offer our By Whakatū Residency opportunity again this year for an artist based in Te Tauihu - find out more about how apply for this paid residency below.

Mask Carnivale 2023

Mask Carnivale will transform our inner-city streets into a colourful explosion of joy, community and creativity on Friday 27 October 2023.

In 2023, as we journey together around the sun, we find ourselves 8 billion strong and 8 billion divided. And so we look to be part of the momentum - rewilding, regenerating, rebalancing, reinvigorating.

Let's embrace and celebrate this momentum, with our theme for this year's Mask Carnivale:


From reusing waste materials, using natural processes, Where the Wild Things Are or generat(ions) – interpret the theme however speaks to you and help us bring vigour, creativity and wonder to our newly (re)born Mask Carnivale.

We can't wait to see what creative masks and costumes you will come up with!

If you're keen to be part of the Parade or perform during the Carnivale, please register via the button below by 30 September 2023.
Register now

By Whakatū Residency Programme

We want to support local artists through time and resources, help them meet new audiences, and to tell local stories to the community (and the world!).

We’re proud to again gift a paid residency to an incredible artist from our region, to progress their mahi or trial new ideas as part of the By Whakatū Residency Programme 2023. This will culminate in a sharing at the end of the Festival - to talk to what you’ve been playing with, share a work in progress or workshop ideas live with an audience.

Key Dates: 
4 September: Expressions of Interest (EOIs) open
18 September, 11pm: EOIs close
21 September: Successful applicant notified
29 October, 12:30pm: Sharing from residency as part of Nelson Arts Festival

Find all info and requirements HERE.
Submit your Expression of Interest

Workshops 2023

We'd love to get you writing!

This year, we're offering two workshops specifically to the writers and wordsmiths in our community.

Surprise Location | Friday 20 Oct | 4.30pm | 60min

Elma Turner Library | Sun 22 Oct | 3pm | 60min
Registrations opening soon!


We'd love a helping hand if you have some time this October. 

Our amazing group of volunteers come together every year to help us with a variety of Festival tasks, from artist pick ups to ushering at our Festival venues.

Find out more here:

Tamariki & Rangatahi

We put together an awesome programme for our tamariki and rangatahi each year. 

From school matinees to workshops to collaborations, we offer a wide range of opportunities for young people to experience the arts.

Some of these events are created especially for schools - to find out more, and book for your students, please contact us directly:
Tamariki & Rangatahi

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