Announcing Estère for 2021

Newtown Festival welcomes singer and producer Estère to lead its 2021 bill on Sunday 7 March 2021. Self-described as “electric blue witch hop”, the illustrious and idiosyncratic Estère with all-star band will grace our South Stage, which is kindly supported by RadioActive, Coffee Supreme and Massey’s Te Rewa o Puanga, School of Music & Creative Media Production.

Estère has been a part of Wellington group Brockaflowersaurus Rex alongside Zoe Mahal and Louis Baker, all previously making their mark at Newtown Festival. The last time Estère performed at Newtown Festival was in 2013 on the Curbside Cabaret stage. Since then Estère has performed extensively overseas, including Glastonbury, all over Aotearoa for various festivals and tours, and opened stadium shows for Grace Jones and Erykah Badu. Estère has also collaborated with the likes of  Bic Runga, Deva Mahal, and Raiza Biza. She is twice nominated for the NZ Music Awards, for Best Producer (2018) and Critics Choice Award (2015). Estère has released two albums, Estère (2015) and My Design, On Others’ Lives (2017-2018), with third album Archetypes waiting in the wings.

Estère provided poetic lockdown tips with A Symphony Of Reassurance, produced by The Pantograph Punch earlier this year for the Artist In Residence podcast, with the provocation “to help you with something you might be feeling in isolation”. As well as this ethereal offering, Estère has had a very potent year so far, kicking off 2020 with the much-hyped mythological concept show Into The Belly Of Capricorn, created for international arts festival audiences before lockdowns fell.

Since then, Estère has been industriously preparing her third album Archetypes for release, created with Massive Attack producer Stew Jackson. The first single “Calculated Risk” was recently released, again with an interrupted tour, accompanied by a video featuring basketball, glamour shoots, and a beautiful spot between Makara and Red Rocks overlooking Raukawa/Cook Strait.


Even more recently, Estère has announced the forging of new record label Blue Riot, through which her new material will be released. Estère says that “Calculated Risk” depicts “age-old myths and archetypes about how women taking risks and being curious about things can literally ruin the world.” So while we keenly await upcoming releases and news, we are also interested in Blue Riot Records’ underlying kaupapa of wanting to shift the power within the music industry.

We had a stellar 2020 Newtown Festival just before the first Covid-19 lockdowns. We feel very fortunate to be able to plan for our 2021 event, as well as be able to announce the inimitable Estère as the first headline act. The Wellington-raised local ushers in a time where we are thinking more and more about the resilience of our creative communities and how we can refocus to celebrate, even more, artistry near and dear to us.

Photo credit: Paascalino Schaller