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Midwinter Carnival 2017 theme is announced as Artistc Director Steps down

The Midwinter Carnival will take place on 24th June (with a postponement date of Sunday 25th) at the Octagon, in central Dunedin. The event will start at 5.00pm, with the procession taking place at 6pm. 

The Midwinter Carnival is a much loved community celebration of Winter, where art and performance create a unique and magical event.  The highlight of the evening is the Carnival procession, which includes over 1,000 people and hundreds of hand crafted lanterns.  Every year, a much anticipated spectacle is the giant lanterns, costumed stilt walkers, dancers and musicians, parading through the Octagon.

The event now attracts upwards of 15,000 people, and the numbers go up every year.

While Carnival organisers tried to extend the route this year, to accommodate the growing numbers, it proved logistically impossible, as the turning off of street lights around Moray place became an insurmountable issue.

The Carnival’s long-time artistic director; Juliet Novena Sorrel, is stepping down this year. Having created the event’s unique aesthetic, encompassing everything from costuming, lantern making and performance direction, Juliet’s vision has been integral to the Carnival’s striking imagery and carefully curated themes. 

This year, Juliet will step aside in order for the Carnival Art Team to realise their collective vision of this year’s theme.

‘This year I am mentoring our Art team who have increased their responsibilities and will work as a collective to artistically direct the event.They have a wealth of skills between them so I'm totally confident that the Carnival is in good hands.’

Juliet plans to focus on her work as a visual artist and also on her teaching, and looks forward to seeing the Carnival grow and change, as new ideas and artists come on board.

‘I've given this event my best and really learned a lot and feel so proud of what we have achieved up to now. So I’m passing the vision on to new people and I’m sure it will continue to be an incredible community event for many years’


 2016 Midwinter Carnival Largest Yet

Dunedin’s Midwinter Carnival for 2016 was an unparalleled success on Saturday night, attracting the biggest crowd in its 19 year history.
Dunedin City Council staff estimated between 15,000 and 18,000 people attended the event, which also featured the largest number of participants yet.
The event included 14 giant lanterns, 150 performers, over 400 lanterns made by families, and over 1000 people in the Carnival Procession.
The theme this year was ‘Future Worlds’ which was brought to life by stunning giant lanterns and highly imaginative costumes worn by twelve separate performance groups.
Artistic director, Juliet Novena Sorrel, said she was very proud of the work of the Carnival Art Team and the many performance groups involved. 'They understood the theme and really made it their own, creating some very beautiful moments in the procession.'
'The work involved in creating dozens of costumes from scratch and highly intricate lantern sculptures is immense. Our hope now is that we can secure a decent work space for the Art Team and the work we have made.'
Due to the event’s growing popularity and increased audience attendance, oranisers are investigating a new longer route for next year’s event. This will make it easier for the audience to view the procession. A Carnival Arts Workshop to store, display and work on future events has also been proposed.

'We have put a funding proposal to the Dunedin City Council and are hoping that the result will be positive. When you look at the video of Saturday's event, you couldn't get a better advertisement for Dunedin. It's a good investment for the city.' 


Media Enquiries

We have a wide range of beautiful photos and some great stories to tell about the many community groups and artists involved. 



Paul Smith

Phone: 021 150 9207