The Hamilton Gardens Festival this year took a fresh approach to how it delivers its 10-day programme of events – with great results.

The festival is in the middle of a three-year strategic review, aimed at building its relevance and appeal for Waikato communities, and its own sustainability, in the longer term.

Every aspect of the festival has been examined during the review, and partnership manager Michelle Macaskill says the festival team’s hard work has paid off.

“The 2017 festival was well-organised, well-run and, above all, well-enjoyed by everyone who attended,” says Michelle.

Festival audiences reported that they ‘loved’ the 45 different events on offer, which ranged from classical music, to theatre, to interactive dance, to funk, to the ever-popular Teddy Bears Picnic. As in previous years, the majority of those events were either free or entry by koha.     

“People love that, armed with a picnic and few gold coins, they can experience and interact with all forms of art, and share that experience with their families and friends,” says Michelle.    

Innovations included a new website, less events overall (but with a focus on quality and relevance), and for the first time, a dedicated indoor venue. The 320-seat Spiegel Tent formed “an oasis of wonder within the already amazing venue of the gardens”, Michelle says.

Hamilton Gardens Festival is in the second year of a three-year strategic funding partnership with Trust Waikato. Trust Waikato also donated $25,000 to support free and low-cost community events.    

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