Going West Festival

Going West Festival reaches new audiences

The iconic Going West Writers Festival was one of the many casualties of Covid last year. Given the uncertainties, the difficult decision was made to cancel New Zealand’s longest-running literary festival.

However, festival organisers responded to the challenges with an innovative project to remain connected with audiences.

Going West commissioned some of Aotearoa’s best poets to create original work in collaboration with some of our finest filmmakers.

The Different Out Loud project is now available for audiences new and old to enjoy on the Going West website.

And the results are impressive as the poems are brought to life by the creative talents of the filmmakers.

There are five selections to enjoy, including an interpretation of Allen Curnow’s classic The Loop in Lone Kauri Road. The video features Waitākere actor Mark Mitchinson against the stunning backdrop of the Karekare valley.

Another standout is a long-time festival favourite and Westie, Serie Barford’s Te Ara Kanohi. Filmed entirely at Te Henga by the talented Anna Marbrook, the video beautifully illustrates Barford’s words.

According to Going West’s James Littlewood, Different Out Loud has helped the festival to reach new audiences across New Zealand.

‘Thanks to the project, our audience has grown enormously,’ he says.

And it nicely complements the work completed during the past year to develop a podcast series of archived festival recordings.

‘Over the festival’s 25-year history, we have accumulated a remarkable catalogue of audio recordings which have been archived at the Henderson Library,’ explains James.

‘We delved into those archives and have published 50 podcasts of some of the highlights over the years.’

Funded in part by The Trusts Your West Support Fund, the podcasts have been hugely popular. And they have even featured on the Radio New Zealand show Nights with Bryan Crump.

‘Thanks to our generous funders and supporters such as The Trusts, we have been able to bounce back from Covid,’ says James.

‘Going West has been innovative in using old material,’ he continues, ‘and has been creative in showcasing new material.’

As for this year’s Going West Festival, James promises that the live programme will be bigger and better than ever. Innovations have been made to ensure the festival can go ahead even if Covid were to resurface.

‘Some exciting announcements are coming up, so watch this space!’ he declares.

Viewers can stream Different Out Loud from Going West’s website at www.goingwestfest.co.nz. The podcast series is also accessible from the website or Spotify, iTunes and Google Podcasts.

Apply for a share of $500,000 of funding from The Trusts for your school, sports club, charity or community group. Applications for funding from Your West Support Fund open on August 9 2021. More information is available here.