The 2019 Wellington Zinefest is set to be bigger than ever – covering three days of events, from November 15 – 17, at Te Auaha on Dixon street. After the popularity of the 2018 market, Zinefest has expanded into a true festival, with two different market days and spots for 120 stalls, live music and even local film screenings.
First held in 2007, Zinefest is an established platform for illustrators, writers, artists, designers and all kinds of creatives to share their work with other keen audiences. Stallholders will be selling their own zines, self published projects and DIY merchandise over two zine market days. Roughly 1,000 people are expected to visit during the weekend of events, held just off Cuba Street.
An opening night drinks on Friday the 15th will feature a screening of two local short films. Datastream is a short film by Kathleen Winter which follows the closure of Datastream Instant Print, a beloved small, independent print shop situated in Te Aro. There will also be the first showing of a short documentary about the history of Wellington Zinefest, filled with interviews with members of the local Zinefest community and archival material from the last thirteen years.
Saturday the 16th will see the opening of the first market day, where 60 stalls will be open to customers between the hours of 12 – 4pm, with an accessibility hour from 11am – 12pm. Later, a ‘mid-party’ will be held from 8pm at the Te Auaha bar, featuring live music from local musicians. On Sunday the 17th, another 60 stallholders will set up for another full market day.
Zines are self-made magazines, typically lo-fi and covering unique content. Zinemaking is an infinite craft – there is no right way to make a zine. Some are professionally bound, some are cheaply xeroxed and others are meticulously handmade. Zines at the Wellington Zinefest always explore a massive range of topics – from radical queer politics to Pokemon fanfiction. Each stall is unique and reflects the diversity of talent here in Pōneke – including zines by kids and young people on a special ‘Kids Table.’
‘I never stop being amazed by zines’ says zinemaker Caitlin Lynch. ‘The medium just inspires something really special in people. Zines are a way for you to be incredibly vulnerable, or weird, or outspoken. In the outside world, you might get judged for those things. But at Zinefest, it’s content, and it’s celebrated.’
Historically, zines have provided a voice for minorities excluded from mainstream publications. The diy publishing style emerged from science fiction fandom in the 1930s, was redeveloped during the punk heyday of the late ‘70s and made a massive resurgence in the ‘Riot Grrl’ ‘90s. The arrival of the internet, predicted to be the death of zinemaking, has only made zine culture more prolific.