Things to do  |  12 Feb 2019

One of the summer entertainment highlights takes centre stage in central Christchurch on Saturday night as Sparks fills North Hagley Park with sights and sounds.

About 60,000 people are expected to gather for the free SummerTimes concert hosted by Jack Tame and Chris Lynch, and featuring the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO), an array of talented young performers and an amazing fireworks display.

Christchurch City Council Events and Arts Manager Karena Finnie says that Sparks brings a magical mix of music and fireworks to the central city.

“It promises to be a stunning night with a stellar line-up of some of our city’s most talented young performers,” Ms Finnie says.

Get ready to light up the night with Sparks.

Get ready to light up the night with Sparks.

“The sounds of Sparks always resonate with the crowd, drawing together a range of tastes for a big night out before a fabulous fireworks show.”

The pre-show entertainment gets under way at 6pm. The main event starts at 7.30pm, with the CSO delivering a mix of classical pieces and contemporary hits before finishing with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

The well-known work topped a public popularity poll to choose a fitting concert climax.

Among this year’s performers are a young Pasifika drum group, The East Side Drumline, neo-soul singer Sacha Vee and popular local band Nomad.

Two remarkable high school musicians, violinist Joshua Hooker and oboe player E Wen Wong, will also perform with the CSO.

For the first time, Sparks will feature a special collaboration between the CSO and Maori arts group Te Ahikaaroa, who will present a poi performance. Fire entertainers Highly Flammable will also keep the crowd entertained.

To top off the night, people can board a free bus home from either Harper Avenue or Park Terrace after the concert winds up about 9.45pm. In total, 28 free buses will be available.

Ms Finnie says the fare-free approach will help ensure a smooth ride.

“By providing 28 free buses, we hope that everyone can just relax and enjoy the trip, rather than scrambling to leave Hagley and families often having to walk a long way in the dark with youngsters back to where they have left their cars,” she says.

A drop-off zone for car passengers will operate in Park Terrace between Kilmore Street and Armagh Street. There will also be a dedicated bike parking area and scooter drop-off zone at Sparks.

This year, Sparks is supporting St John. If you want to make a $3 donation, text CHCH to 8595.