We believe the magic of the arts should be accessible to everybody. That’s why we present more free and live events than any other regional arts festival in New Zealand.

The Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival is a uniquely community driven arts festival. Every year our festival relies on the generosity and time of local businesses, sponsors, venues and volunteers to go ahead.

Here are some fun facts about what makes us tick: Our commitment to making ticketed shows affordable to as many people as possible means that for every $1 you spend on a ticket, we subsidise a further $2. Thanks to our amazing sponsors, the cost to the public for each ticketed show is subsidised by 70%.

1400 volunteer hours were involved in delivering our 2021 festival. We couldn’t be more grateful for the hard work volunteers put in every year to make our festival what it is!

Faced with a myriad of challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, we launched a crowdfunding campaign to help the festival go ahead in 2022. With the generous support of our community we managed to raise $25,000 (115% of our original funding target!).

In 2021 over 45,000 people attended a free & live event at our festival.

Check out our always evolving programme of free and live events at the Hamilton Gardens and around the CBD!

Get to the hub

The Grassroots Trust Festival Hub is at the heart of the action, with free and live entertainment celebrating local artists and musicians starting at 5pm every night.

Thanks to an exciting new partnership with Village, this is also the place to savour the sights and sounds of the festival, relax with a drink and enjoy some incredible locally produced food.

Come together with friends and whanau and take in the sweet, sweet festival vibes, mingle with artists or enjoy a sunset over the stunning Turtle Lake.

The Grassroots Trust Festival Hub and Stage of Enlightenment are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Grassroots Trust, University of Waikato and Norah Howell Charitable Trust.

The Grassroots Trust Festival Hub Timetable will be loaded soon!

Partnered with:



HGAF is set to transform and inspire Victoria on the River across two Saturdays (Feb 19 & 26) with music, discussion, art and community – all free to the public. With thanks to our friends at Hamilton Central Business Association.

PechaKucha Hamilton Vol. 48 – Creative Cities

PechaKucha brings together an epic line-up of presenters to share stories, ideas and projects. Each presenter projects 20 slides with 20 seconds of commentary per slide. That’s it. Simple. Punchy. Engaging.

Embraced around the globe from Toyko to Berlin, PechaKucha events connect people, fuel conversation and inspire thinking, with topics ranging from the intellectual to the sublime to the hilarious.

Hear from the curators, artists, musicians, designers and every-day people putting Kirikiriroa on the map of creative cities.

Generously sponsored by CBD Events.

Saw Wave

Live music returns to Victoria on the River with a locally focussed line-up of punk rock, hip-hop and rock’n’roll. Showcasing styles of music not often seen at free outdoor concerts, Saw Wave features an eclectic line-up.

Making waves from Kirikiriroa, Rwandan-Kiwi rapper Raiza Biza is a humble titan within Aotearoa’s underground scene. As the driving force behind AmmoNation, Biza believes in the power of community and the sharing of knowledge.

Tamaki Makaurau-based artist Louisa Nicklin is a performer who transcends the singer-songwriter label. Taking influence from her classical background, her deeply honest music is both confronting and ethereal.

Guardian Singles is a punk rock supergroup, featuring musicians from Auckland indie darlings SoccerPractise, Coolies, Vivian Girls, Na Noise and Echo Ohs.

Featuring members of Contenders and Hedge Fund Trader, hometown rock ‘n’ roll heroes Pillcutter have quickly gained momentum for their raucous live performances.

Saw Wave is supported by Hamilton City Council, CBD Events, Creative Communities Scheme, Trust Waikato and WEL Energy Trust.