"Summertime Festival: Classical Sparks in the Park" Top 5 Page for this destination Christchurch Local Custom Tip by Kakapo2

Christchurch Local Customs: 42 reviews and 46 photos


The Summertime Festival in Christchurch is a big fun time with lots of great and free activities and attractions, concerts and other entertainment. The highlight is "Classical Sparks" in Hagley Park which is a concert that often ends with Wagner's Ride Of The Valkyries and massive fireworks. Tens of thousands of people go there every year. It is like a pilgrimage to the park, everybody takes folding chairs or blankets to sit on, and a picnic basket with them.

Normally "Classical Sparks" takes place on 5 February, the evening before Waitangi Day. In case of rain a day later.

There are various performing artists. Two or three years ago, for example, you could see and hear Bic Runga and - for the classic part - Geoff Sewell, until not so long ago the tenor of Amici, and Elena played the classic rock violin.

Although millions of people seem to attend this free event we went there once when the concert featured a great soprano named Deborah Wai Kapohe with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and then NZ's legendary popstar Dave Dobbyn and his band. God, this man can sing! And supported by the orchestra it was magic.

If you are not from NZ and Dave Dobbyn's name is not familiar to you, perhaps you have heard the song "Be mine tonight" - this is by Dave Dobbyn & the Dudes. My favourite song is a newer one with the title "Welcome Home" - just fantastic! In the NZ list of fame Dave Dobbyn comes right after the Finn Brothers Neil and Tim who formed the worldwide acknowledged bands Split Enz and Crowded House.

The concert was scheduled for 8-10pm but finally the fireworks did not finish until 11pm, and in the following days parents who had come with children complained about the late fireworks. The next year they scheduled it for 8-10.30pm. So if you go there plan plenty of time and bring enough food and drink... (There are some food stalls though.) And absolutely bring something to sit on! If you are a tourist at least get a towel, or consider the purchase of a folding chair for $5 or 10...

Website: http://www.summertimes.co.nz

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 7, 2010
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