Thank you to Laura Williamson, the Festival’s outgoing General Manager

Laura Williamson

The 2021 Festival of Colour marked the end of Laura Williamson’s time as our General Manager. We were sad to see her go and want to acknowledge her dedication and efforts in developing the festival and its audiences over the past five years. We are extremely grateful for all her hard work and ability to juggle a vast range of tasks, usually with a smile on her face.

Laura started as General Manager in 2017. Having attended most Festivals of Colour over the years, every Aspiring Conversations festival, performed at a festival (as part of “Blue Moments”), and worked as the festival’s schools’ coordinator, she was the ideal candidate to step into the role vacated by Lindsey Schofield (who in turn replaced Katy Macpherson the Festival’s first GM).

Former festival Director, Philip Tremewan, worked alongside Laura during her tenure. “We were delighted to have Laura bring her great energy, warmth, intelligence and organisational skills to the General Manager role and wish her well on her next adventures.”

After taking a well-deserved break, she is now focusing on her role as editor of ‘1964’ magazine. But the good news is, we don’t think we’ve seen the last of Laura on the Festival team; she is keen to stay involved in some capacity!


Our new Operations Managers

Alongside our new Executive Director, Charlie Unwin, two new Operations Managers have recently started with the Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust: Anna McConville and Abbey Lewis. They are working alongside Charlie, Philip Tremewan, who is programming the 2022 Aspiring Conversation festival of ideas, and Sophie Kelly, the Artistic Director of the Festival of Colour arts festival.


Hailing from Scotland, Anna arrived in Wānaka almost 11 years ago to the day and hasn’t looked back!

On arriving she threw herself into volunteering on local events kickstarting a 10+ year journey working as a freelance event manager. Glastonbury, London Olympics, Warbirds over Wanaka, Winter Games NZ, Rippon, Special Olympics NZ, Queenstown Winter Festival, Ripe and of course the Festival of Colour are some of the events she’s helped to deliver over the last decade.

Anna has undertaken many roles within the Festival. “I’m enjoying the recent move from Event Management into Operations Management. Job sharing the role with Abbey is not only really fun (we’re mates) but offers me the perfect work/life balance so I’ve plenty of time to enjoy our slice of paradise with my husband and two young kids.”


Having volunteered and worked with the Festival of Colour over the past six years, Abbey is excited to take on the new Operations Manager role alongside Anna.

Following a career as a museum registrar, she made the move into festival world some years ago. She worked with the Edinburgh Fringe team for four years as well as the Adelaide Fringe, the Prague Fringe and several music and smaller arts festivals in between. “It’s all about the people – the crews, the performers, the audiences – and the thrill of the one-off experiences that everyone shares.”

Abbey is delighted to take on this role in Wānaka (home for seven years) and to be able to contribute to the ongoing success of Aotearoa’s ‘best little festival’ alongside a great team.


A great album from Al Fraser & Bridget Douglas

Following their engrossing performance at this year’s Festival of Colour, you can now purchase the album “Bridget & Douglas Al Fraser: Silver Stone Wood Bone” HERE.

Change to programme mail outs

Starting from next year with Aspiring Conversations, in the name of sustainability and doing our part to lessen our carbon footprint, we will be limiting the number of printed programmes that we produce.

Printed programmes will still be available (in all the usual shops, libraries and cafes around Wānaka and Hāwea in the month or two prior to the Festival) however a full Festival programme will be available electronically to the public once it is launched. We encourage you to view and download it from our website:

The 2022 Aspiring Conversations programme will be available online from February 2022.

If you would like to continue receiving a hard copy of the programme by mail, please complete THIS FORM by the end of November 2021 and we will have one sent out to you when the programme is launched.

Thank you for helping us do our bit and for your ongoing support.


Save the dates for 2022’s Aspiring Conversations

We are well into programming and planning for the 2022 Aspiring Conversations festival of ideas. The Aspiring Conversations festival of ideas will take place March 25 to 27, 2022.
Keep an eye out for updates, and get ready for our programme launch, set for January 31, 2022.


Love our festivals? It’s time to renew your support!

Our Patron and Benefactor supporters are a crucial part of our funding mix – ticket sales cover just over a quarter of our costs. The rest of our expenses are paid for through the support of grantmakers, sponsors and private supporters like you!

You can join for the next two years as a Patron for $600 or a Benefactor for $2500 and be a part of bringing two wonderful festivals to Wānaka – your Patron or Benefactor membership covers both Aspiring Conversations and the Festival of Colour.

It’s easy to renew or join online here on our website!


Arts and events in our region

Andrew London Duo
Lake Hāwea Community Centre
Saturday 13th November

Kapiti Coast-based musician, satirist and performer, Andrew London, performed in the very first Festival of Colour in 2005 as part of Hot Club Sandwich. Now he’s back to perform in Hāwea this month. With a new repertoire born out of lockdown (a surprisingly fruitful time for some artists), he will play with his wife Kirsten London in their ‘Get Back To Work!’ show.  For more details, check out the Facebook event here.  Tickets on sale here, with a full refund available if the event has to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions.

The Big Bike Night – Wānaka
Wānaka Community Hub
Monday 15 November

The Big Bike Film Night ‘Feature Series’ concentrates on satisfying those cycling enthusiasts that crave even more bicycle drama with full length documentaries on a particular cycling genre. For more, see HERE.

Good Bunch Film Festival – Wānaka
Wānaka Community Hub
Friday 19 November, 7.30pm

The inaugural Good Bunch Film Festival is a series of short films brought to you by a variety of grape growers and winemakers from Central Otago. This is a golden opportunity to get an insight into the characters of the region served up with a taste of their delicious wine. There are 5 short films on the programme, 5 wines to taste, and a selection of delicious morsels to eat. Tickets are $35 (+ booking fee) and include a complementary Good Bunch Govino stemless glass. See more HERE.