Hawke's Bay Arts Festival going from 'strength to strength'

Audiences across the Bay are in for another "spectacular" few days as the Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival enters its second week.

About 5000 people have been to festival events so far and another 5000 are expected this week.

With everything from strong political pieces to amusing cabaret performances, festival director Pitsch Leiser said the week had gone from "strength to strength".

"The event has been very successful so far and we have had a lot of diversity starting with the visual arts component on Monday night and then moving into theatre, circus, dance and literature from Tuesday."

During the weekend the cultural extravaganza continued and people were treated to the White Night event in Napier's Arts Quarter on Saturday night.

The event drew all walks of life and Mr Leiser said after showcasing the public galleries of Havelock North and Hastings it was great to be able to open up the ones in Napier.

"It was absolutely spectacular, the town was buzzing and it was a huge success picturing the visual arts again."

With the school holidays under way the festival featured a selection of shows for families with children filling up the spiegeltent yesterday for The Listies Make You Lol!, a show run by some of Australia's favourite comedians, Richard Higgins and Matthew Kelly.

Mr Leiser said there would be more performances for children this week with another performance of The Listies Make You Lol! today and Sunny Ray and Magnificent Moon on Wednesday.

For the adults, the diversity from the first week continues with musician Thomas Oliver lighting up the Spiegeltent tonight and tomorrow, The Maori Sidesteps hitting the stage on Wednesday and Thursday and Otto and Astrid - Eurosmash entertaining audiences on Friday.

Mr Leiser said the festival's central piece, the Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent, had gone down well with the community again.

"There is a seamless connection between the new village green development and the spiegeltent so the atmosphere down here is really beautiful and the festival so far has been spectacular."

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