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Canceled for the last two years, New Zealand’s biggest tattoo festival is back in New Plymouth this weekend

After three years of Covid-induced silence, the buzz of tattoo guns are back in New Plymouth once again this weekend as the city welcomes back Australasia’s biggest tattoo event.

New Zealand Tattoo & Art Festival organizer Brent Taylor says he’s hoping to have 7000 people through the door of the event which features everything from tattoo artists, to drum and bass, to Nitro Circus BMX riders, to a Netflix star.

Taylor said pre-sales and setting up of the event had gone well.

“Artist wise there’s been a lot of interest in Rose Hardy from the Netflix series Tattoo Redos, she’s very popular.

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“I think people are just looking forward to being back at the event and getting tattooed by artists from around the world.”

Hardy started tattooing in Auckland, and now works from New York City, she has a focus on her bold, decorative signature style.

They're empty now but on Saturday and Sunday the tables at New Plymouth's TSB Stadium will be full of people getting tattoos.

ANDY MACDONALD/Stuff

They’re empty now but on Saturday and Sunday the tables at New Plymouth’s TSB Stadium will be full of people getting tattoos.

A majority of tattoo artists attending the festival are from Australia and New Zealand, with others from France, Italy and Canada.

More than half of this year’s artists are women.

Taylor said the Upbeats will be headlining a drum and bass-themed weekend with other artists such as EMWA also performing.

After three years the New Zealand Tattoo & Art Festival is back, and organizer Brent Taylor is hoping 7000 people will show up.

VANESSA LAURIE/Stuff

After three years the New Zealand Tattoo & Art Festival is back, and organizer Brent Taylor is hoping 7000 people will show up.

“There’s a bit of hype around the Upbeats on Saturday night as well in the music marque, and also we’ve got a three Nitro Circus BMX riders riding on a massive ramp, along with the freestyle motocross shows as well.

“Kids under 14 are free so essentially they get to see Nitro Circus performers for free.”

The festival was last held in 2019 but canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of Covid restrictions. Taylor said it was great to be able to hold it again.

“It was a really tough time when you think you could do it again and three months out you had to postpone again, year after year.

“It did seem like it might never happen again, but we managed to push through it, we’re real stoked to do it and it’s real cool – some of the artists have been to every one.”

New Zealand Tattoo & Art Festival takes place on November 26 and 27 at New Plymouth’s TSB Stadium, with tickets on sale now, as well as door sales on the day.

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