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Connection: Mask Carnivale 2021


In the light of the government’s Monday 4 Oct announcement, it is with doubly heavy hearts that we have had to make further changes to what the Nelson Festivals Trust is able to deliver in 2021 while keeping our community safe.

We held on tightly to a spark of hope that we might have been able to safely gather as a community, but sadly, we continue to face too much uncertainty.

With the current government strategy rolling out over the next 4 to 8 weeks, it is very unlikely that Whakatū will be back to an alert level in time for us to be able to safely deliver our vision. Because of this, we have had to make further tough decisions, including cancelling Whakatū’s festival-favourite, the MASK CARNIVALE. You will find a full list of which events have been cancelled, and which we will be to proceed with, here.

We know the Mask Carnivale has a particular significance to our community. It’s especially heart-breaking to have to cancel the parade knowing the many hours of preparation already done by so many schools and community groups.

Until we can see you all again to connect in person, please take care, arts lovers. Be kind, look after each other, wear your mask, use the tracker app…you know it.

Big gatherings may not be possible, but as long as we are willing, we can connect. Arohanui.

Nelson CBD | Fri 29 Oct | 5.30 - 10.00 pm

Mask Parade from 5.30 pm, followed by Carnivale Street Party.

Afterparty at East St Festival Hub from 9.30 pm - wear your mask!

A forever festival favourite, this magical community celebration is how we welcome the start of summer in Whakatū nelson. 2021 is all about Connection - the theme for this year’s parade!

Intricately decorated masks and colourful parades have been a part of festivals around the world for centuries, fuelled by local traditions and cultural celebrations. For Whakatū Nelson, this means bringing together our hapori (community) to celebrate the arts and ringing in the sunny season. The Mask Carnivale transforms the central city into a street party full of fun, music, colour, creativity, mask and costume, kicking off with the iconic mask parade.

Carnivale will be headlined by multi award- winning bilingual hip hop and R&B artist Rei and local punk-cover heroes Rocket Zombie, supported by local youth and community performances across two stages, as well as entertaining roving performers and installations. Guaranteed good mood stuff!

Everyone is invited to come together for this fantastic, free, family-friendly event to kick off the closing weekend of the 2021 Nelson Arts Festival. Wear your masks, don your costumes - this is not only for those in the parade!

Mask Carnivale

New Parade Route

We’ve changed our route a bit to allow a shorter journey for those in the Parade, and to fill our central streets with the joyful celebration of local creativity - we'll share a map with you soon!

The parade assembles in Montgomery Square and exits left onto Hardy Street, turns right down Morrison Street, along Selwyn Place, finishing down Church Street.

2021 Mask Parade Enrolment Form

Sorry. This form is no longer available.

Looking for inspiration

For inspiration, download Masks on Parade, a mask-making and percussion booklet with step-by-step instructions on how to make different types of masks, along with ideas on incorporating sound and movement into your parade experience.

Download the Masks on Parade PDF

Calling Musicians, Performers, Dancers

Calling all musicians, performers, dancers to be part of the 2021 Mask Carnivale.

We are on the lookout for quality talent to perform in the Mask Parade and at the Carnivale afterwards.

Mask Carnivale -
Food Stalls

We are looking for all types of quality food to add to the wonderful Carnivale atmosphere and to complement Nelson's restaurant scene.

Please register your interest here and we will be in touch.

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