Lumino Festival 2022

We’re singing and dancing in the rain!

Wellington Batucada at the Lumino Festival 2022. Photo by Nath Young.

Have you ever done that thing (probably when you were a kid) when you’re walking home from school – maybe with your mates who are coming round for tea – and the heavens open (no-one has an umbrella or a raincoat) and by the time you get home you’re all soaked to the skin and so high and excited by the sheer wet madness of it all that it ends up being one of the BEST DAYS EVER. Yeah no me neither.

Oh OK then, yes of course I did. Mum went a bit mad, as you can imagine, but the fact that I can remember it all in such detail all these years later says something about what a special experience it was.

This is the story of what that experience feels like when you’re grown-ups doing a drumming and dancing show on Wellington’s waterfront. In a tropical deluge.

Wellington Batucada at the Lumino Festival 2022. Photo by Nath Young.

All day I’d been watching the weather forecast, and watching my email to see whether the gig would be cancelled. “Surely it will – it’s already raining and it’s going to absolutely pour later on!” But no. No email came, so reluctantly in the late afternoon I got changed into my Batucada uniform, grabbed a beach towel for sitting on later, and headed into town…

It wasn’t too bad walking from my car to Mac’s Brewery, but the skies were leaden and threateningly full of promise. At least it was warm. Super-tropical warmth in fact – and super-humid, and almost guaranteed to be very very wet later on.

By the time we were ready to do our little show as part of the Lumino Festival on Wellington’s waterfront, the light drizzle had turned distinctly persistent, and was getting heavier by the minute. Tim our director asked for a quick show of hands “Who still wants to play?”

“YEAH!” Came back the cry from (almost) all of us.

We were here now, we were all hyped up and ready – why not just go for it – it’s only a bit of water after all.

Our audience was small, but dedicated. Dressed up snugly in their waterproofs, sheltering under umbrellas, they were a stark contrast to the band – unprotected from the downpour in our clean white trousers and coloured tops – and the dancers – who had decided skin and sequins (with feathered headdresses) should be the order of the day.

Within a few minutes of getting on-stage (not on a stage) and beginning our performance we were all soaked to the skin. Our lovely shiny white trainers were squelchingly full of water, our hair flat and wet and falling into our eyes, glasses misted up, feather headdresses limp and sodden.

Wellington Batucada at the Lumino Festival 2022. Photo by Cadby.

And yet – the more it poured, and the wetter we got, the more fun we seemed to be having. It was like – once we’d decided to GO FOR IT, and once the rain reached underwear-soaking levels – we just all sort of let go and gave it everything we had.

It was like being that kid again, dancing through puddles, stomping about in the rain, getting muddy and waterlogged and having the BEST TIME EVER.

There’s a freedom that comes when you give it up to the Universe and immerse yourself in the now, in the moment. Kids have it all the time I think, but we lose it as we get older – and to get it back again – even as a fleeting glimpse, is truly special.

I think it’s one of the most magical gigs we’ve done in a long time. Sometimes, and sometimes in very unexpected ways, the stars just align and the drumming and the dancing, and the individuals doing the drumming and the dancing, and the people watching, and the place we’re in, just kind of click into some sort of perfect living creature, and produce a perfect show.

This was that show.

Wellington Batucada at the Lumino Festival 2022. Photo by Nath Young.

Photo gallery

Photos by Al Robertson, Cadby, Jein Fonda and Nath Young. Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version:

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