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Join the 2021 Mask Carnivale: Nelson Arts Festival

JOIN THE CELEBRATIONS! The Nelson Arts Festival’s iconic Mask Carnivale returns with an explosion of colour and creativity.

FRI 29 Oct | 5.30 – 10pm | Nelson CBD (5 November postponement)

It’s the return of the forever festival favourite, the Mask Carnivale – Nelson’s biggest street party for the whole community to enjoy and participate in.
Paying tribute to its theme, Connection, this year’s parade will kick off a night of fun, music, colour, creativity, mask and costume. A great line-up of local bands across two stages will see you dancing in the streets, while roving performers and installations add to the whimsical magic of it all. Good moods guaranteed!

A forever festival favourite, this magical community celebration is how we welcome the start of summer in Whakatū nelson. 2021 is all about Connection – the theme for this year’s parade!

Intricately decorated masks and colourful parades have been a part of festivals around the world for centuries, fuelled by local traditions and cultural celebrations. For Whakatū Nelson, this means bringing together our hapori (community) to celebrate the arts and ringing in the sunny season. The Mask Carnivale transforms the central city into a street party full of fun, music, colour, creativity, mask and costume, kicking off with the iconic mask parade.

Carnivale will be headlined by multi award- winning bilingual hip hop and R&B artist Rei and local punk-cover heroes Rocket Zombie, supported by local youth and community performances across two stages, as well as entertaining roving performers and installations. Guaranteed good mood stuff!

Everyone is invited to come together for this fantastic, free, family-friendly event to kick off the closing weekend of the 2021 Nelson Arts Festival. Wear your masks, don your costumes – this is not only for those in the parade!

New Parade Route

We’ve changed our route a bit to allow a shorter journey for those in the Parade, and to fill our central streets with the joyful celebration of local creativity – we’ll share a map with you soon!

The parade assembles in Montgomery Square and exits left onto Hardy Street, turns right down Morrison Street, along Selwyn Place, finishing down Church Street.

Visit for the full line-up of music and performances, and don’t forget to bring your mask for an unforgettable evening out and about.

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