The fourth Tauranga Arts Festival extravaganza kicks off on Labour weekend for ten days of theatre, music, art, dance and community events.

From 20-30 October, thousands of festival-goers will take over the town to experience a stunning array of top artists at a variety of venues.

Festival director Philip Tremewan says the event has a wide range of entertainment to offer. “With it being Labour weekend there are a lot of shows that target families so concession prices are available,” he says. “The festival has great diversity so there is something for everyone.”

Some of the most notable acts taking part include New Zealand-born jazz musician Mike Nock, who has “been playing jazz since he was a kid in short pants in the Waikato.” Nock is playing one concert during the festival alongside his trio from Sydney.

Aussie gospel duo Vika and Linda is another can’t miss performance, according to Mr Tremewan.” The sisters have an incredible background and have played with many big name acts,” he says.

New Zealand musicians on show include Greg Johnson and Don McGlashan, one of the country’s finest and most original songwriters. Mr Tremewan said both shows are near sell-outs. Popular New Zealand reggae group Katchafire is also expected to generate a large audience.

Theatre offerings include The Lab, which features two scientist-musicians from Australia using water, fire and glass to create a symphony of sounds. “We have some really interesting big shows at Baycourt,” Mr Tremewan says. “The play Disgrace is just finishing up in Auckland and then they’ll come here. It’s a wonderful, serious drama set in post-apartheid South Africa.”

A full listing of events is available on the website www.taurangafestival.co.nz. Tickets can be booked through www.ticketdirect.co.nz or by ringing Baycourt on 07 577 7188 or 0800 842 3378.