HAMILTON GARDENS ARTS FESTIVAL CANCELS 2022 EVENT
Due to New Zealand moving into the red setting of the Covid-19 framework, the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival will not be going ahead in 2022.
All ticket holders to HGAF events will be contacted by the event’s ticketing agent and given the option of a refund.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country would be moving into the red setting at 11.59pm on Sunday, 23rd of January due to confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the community. Crucially, this means the number of attendees allowed at public gatherings is now restricted to 100 people.
The news was quickly followed by a slew of summer festival events being canceled including Splore Festival, Auckland Pride Festival and New Zealand Fashion Week.
HGAF General Manager Geoff Turkington says the decision to cancel the event, which was originally scheduled to run from Feb 18-27, was not taken lightly.
“It's nothing less than devastating to have to pull the plug on such an exciting programme of events after months of hard work and planning.
“However, to try and move forward at limited capacity would be both cost and resource prohibitive”, says Turkington.
"While we're sad we will not be able to give Kirikiriroa Hamilton the arts festival it deserves this year, we support the government's decision to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in our communities,” says Turkington.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT INTEGRAL TO FESTIVAL’S FUTURE
After grappling with a crippling shortfall in public funding last year due to the impact of Covid-19, HGAF had to enlist the support of the community. Festival Chair, Chris Williams says they had an incredible response.
“The support we received from HCC and our funding partners was humbling. It confirmed our belief about the special place the festival holds in the region, so our hearts are very heavy about the decision we’ve had to make.”
A successful crowdfunding campaign through arts crowdfunding platform BOOSTED was also launched.
Turkington says all those who offered donations will be contacted directly by the Arts Foundation and offered a refund, in lieu of their donations being used to support the future of the festival.
“This year's festival, more than any other before it, was only ever made feasible thanks to the incredible support of our community, and the unwavering loyalty of our sponsors, funders and event partners.”
“We can’t thank them enough and we move forward with determination to deliver a world class arts festival next year when, fingers crossed, we are in a position to do so” says Turkington.
The Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival is hoping to go ahead in 2023 with events from this year’s programme being rescheduled wherever possible.
“After two years of grappling with the uncertainty of Covid-19 it almost goes without saying that these are incredibly difficult times for everyone in the events industry.
“Our thoughts are with everyone in our creative communities, particularly those in the Waikato”, says Turkington.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate says she is “deeply disappointed for the organisers, the artists, the audience and the city.”
“The arts festival is such a fabulous event for Hamilton, one of the most important and creative events we have. To see the plug being pulled at such a late stage is gut-wrenching and I really, really feel for everyone involved. It is heart-breaking,” she said.
“The events sector has been hit so badly and I’m just hoping Hamiltonians will commit to supporting the festival with gusto next year.”