The gift that goes on giving – Festival funds raised for Christchurch

The 2011 Newtown Festival Street Fair was a week and a half after the devastating Christchurch Earthquake. So on Fairday that year with the help of Fire Service Volunteers we bucket collected donations from the crowd, with Westpac’s help we raffled signed Phoenix Shirts, and we also sold Newtown Festival Calendars.

After much deliberation, and research into Christchurch un-funded needs, the Newtown Festival Committee decided to use the $1520 raised to support Christchurch performance artists and events.

So far in 2011, 2012, and 2013 we have funded 12 Christchurch acts to come up and perform at the Newtown Festival (plus accommodation). Each of those 3 years we have also supported 2 or 3 technical crew members (who have flown in at their own expense) to assist in the Newtown Festival.  Each year our general Festival funds have been sufficient to pay the acts to perform and those involved insisted on donating the accommodation. The acts, and the tech crew have aDanceOmatll suggested we keep hold of the money and use the funds on someone more deserving!

Successfully hosting the first years ‘refugee’ artists and tech crew without spending any of the donated funds the Festival then pledged funding to Gap Filler initiatives to be staged in Christchurch that year. The Gap Filler Trust temporarily activates vacant sites within Christchurch with creative projects.

Gap Filler were delighted with this seed funding, but with them becoming more and more popular  with funding agencies, and with donors who liked their quirky projects they also didn’t need to use our funds, suggesting instead we made the money available for other artists who couldn’t gain funding. Our potential funding continued to underwrite Christchurch creative events in 2012 again without needing to be spent….. so in February 2013 Newtown Festival helped fund the launch performances staged for the fundraising album “Songs for Christchurch“. This launch included 2 Wellington bands who have played past Newtown Festivals.  This compilation album is by a collective of people from Melbourne, San Francisco, Christchurch and Wellington, with tracks donated by twenty one local and global artists. The album is fundraising for community projects in the rebuild of Christchurch. This way the spend of some of our fundraising is a catalyst, helping to generate further funds.


Newtown Festival intends to maximise the effectiveness of the remaining donated moneys and will continue to underwrite performance initiatives that may or may not draw down on our funds….. Currently we are investigating supporting outdoor circus performance.