Wanaka’s famous Aspiring Conversations Ideas Festival has released their full programme for the event in April, which boasts a range of musicians, politicians, writers and more from both New Zealand and across the globe. Notable names include Green Party’s Chlöe Swarbrick, Shihad frontman Jon Toogood and TV journalist Paddy Gower.
Festival director Philip Tremewan says this year’s programme reflects the issues which are most pressing today, “It’s a chance for us to gather to listen and discuss, to question and reflect on issues that affect us all. There are threads and connections through the festival as a session on mortality segues into singing the blues, while a climate crisis discussion sits up against loving where we live.”
The festival sesson names promises to delight, with titles ranging from “Tax is Love,” “Musician, Muslim, Kiwi,” “Fake News,” to “Death Becomes Us.” The event is ticketed, although this year organisers are offering a free lunchtime event called “Streetside Soapbox – Big Issues, Short Talks” on the streets of central Wānaka, with guests such as Swarbrick doing quickfire style soapbox talks and slam poetry on April 4.
Aspiring Conversations is sponsored by Milford Asset Management and supported through grants from Creative New Zealand, Central Lakes Trust, Otago Community Trust, and Queenstown Lakes District Council to help make it a world-class event. One speaker is yet to be announced for the sustainability session to help build suspense. “We have always held one session open to announce speakers closer to the festival to reflect current events,” Tremewan says. “This year we’ll be looking to bring a high-calibre speaker to discuss the challenge of sustainability.”
The Aspiring Conversations Ideas Festival 2020 takes place in Wanaka from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 April, and tickets will be on sale from Friday 14 February through www.aspiringconversations.co.nz.