Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival

Wellington

‘The Lōemis festival is about embracing the darkest days of the year and evoking traditions that have kept humankind warm since neolithic times’, says director, Andrew Laking.

A feast for 100 people designed by Field & Green on Saturday 17 June is a headline element of the festival that runs from 15 - 21 June in various locations across Wellington. Head chef and owner of Field & Green, Laura Greenfield, took inspiration from Lucia Night to design this year’s Lōemis feast. ‘Traditionally Lucia Night was the darkest, longest night of the year when supernatural beings roamed the land and all animals could speak. It’s celebrated in Sweden and Norway during winter solstice as a festival of light and feast day.’ she says.

Other events in the festival include Humours, where the medieval concept of the humours inspire the matching of four poets (Hannah Mettner, Nick Ascroft, Louise Wallace and Freya Daly Sadgrove) with four different kinds of chocolate curated by Luke Owen Smith of The Chocolate Bar. From humours to witches, Lōemis presents a unique showing of the silent film about witchcraft, Häxan, complete with live narration and a new score from leading Wellington musicians.

Wellington’s iconic war memorial building, the Carillon will be transformed by the sound of live Gregorian influenced soundscapes created by experimental musician, Joel Vinsen and by the extraordinarily beautiful voices of Aurora IV. The four-part, all-male vocal quartet will be giving a concert (by candlelight) of late medieval, renaissance, and 'contemporary' songs written from the 11th century onwards in a mix of languages.

A giant monster called Somnium, created by sculptor Leda Farrow, will be installed in Wellington Museum from 19 May where the public are invited to post their nightmares or most private aspirations into its belly. Somnium is at the centre of the final Lōemis event, called Ritual, when it will paraded down the Wellington waterfront accompanied by a live band, and floated onto the lagoon before being finally torched in a ceremonial burning that symbolises the setting free of our subconscious and the end of the solstice.

Polhill Reserve in the Aro Valley has a starring role in the Lōemis festival: Sasquatch is a guided adventure hunt through the reserve with two Sasquatch experts who have discovered that something is at large in one of Wellington’s prime nature-watching spots.

For the full Lōemis programme and ticketing information, see Lōemis.nz

Lōemis is brought to you by Pirate & Queen (Claire Mabey and Andrew Laking), the producers of Wellington’s experiential literary festival, LitCrawl (10, 11, 12 November 2017).

Lōemis thanks supporters and collaborators: Wellington City Council, Ricoh, Polhill Restoration Trust, The Chocolate Bar, Garage Project, Field & Green, AroVideo, and Speedy Signs.