Celebrating the restoration of a Wellington cultural institution
We were thrilled to be invited to take part in the celebrations for the re-opening of the St James Theatre in the centre of Wellington. It’s been closed for three years getting earthquake strengthened, so it was brilliant to be included in the wide range of performance groups taking part.
We began with a small group of drummers and dancers parading through town towards the St James, meeting up with parades of other performance groups approaching from all directions to kick off the celebrations.
Throughout the evening, many of Wellington’s rich and varied treasure trove of singers, dancers and performance groups of all kinds entertained the crowds outside the theatre. Wellington Batucada was honoured to be chosen to provide the final show of the evening.
After an early, rainy start and some adventures negotiating traffic and on-site construction works the crew all assembled on-time and without losing anyone. Phew!
After a try-out for stage positions we waited in the green room and then started the show with a short, noisy, surprise parade into Shed 6 to round everyone up from the breakfast reception and then led them pied piper style across into the main TSB Arena stadium.
Once in there we paraded through the stadium seating and got onto the big stage (with a MASSIVE video screen behind us). Then we gave the crowd a blast of Samba Reggae and Merengue.
Marching up and down again, performing for a great cause
It’s always the same when you do any sort of filming – it always starts later than planned, and there’s always heaps of waiting around. Fortunately for us, our good friends at El Barrio had provided part of their bar as our official Green Room, which meant that we had somewhere to store our stuff, get ready, hang out, socialise, and maybe even have a beer or two. What could be better?
You get there super-early (wearing your band uniform, most likely), spend an hour or a few meandering through the streets looking at all the stalls and buying stuff, eating yummy food from everywhere in the world, and answering many questions from people about when the band will be playing. Everyone looks forward to the Batucada parade, it seems.
We had so much fun being part of such a glorious, family-friendly day of food, stalls and entertainment. The community spirit of so many bright and beautiful people was absolutely fabulous. Big ups to Dani and her crew from the Community Centre for an amazing day. Thanks to Tommy Etuata too for capturing all that community goodness in this video as we drummed and danced in the heart of Aro Valley.
A beautiful day, at a beautiful Wellington community event – what could be better? We were thrilled to be asked to open for the famous ArOlympics this year. It was our pleasure!
Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers at the Aro Fair 2021. Video by Tom S Etuata.