More affordable Jazz Festival to broaden appeal

By Kiri Gillespie

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The Tauranga National Jazz Festival has been scaled back as new management steers the historic Easter event in a more affordable, local and family-friendly direction.

The festival programme was officially launched at the Trinity Wharf Hotel last night.

Festival director Rebecca Chambers said the focus of the 51st festival would be on providing affordable concerts and family entertainment, while ensuring the best musical talent in New Zealand was showcased.

Ms Chambers replaced former director Arne Herrmann, who was contracted in 2009 to help grow the festival.

Mr Herrmann brought in acts like Earth, Wind and Fire, but left following last year's festival when the decision was made to downscale the event.

"It's really important at the moment because in this economic climate, you have to shift your focus toward what the community wants," Ms Chambers said.

"We spend a lot of time researching 'what does Tauranga want and need'. People can't afford to go to three massive concerts with big names in one weekend."

Last year's $1.5 million event failed to break even, making a loss.


The audited accounts in June finalized the operational deficit of the 2012 National Jazz Festival as $13,485. 


Headlining the festival this year are internationally renowned New Zealand jazz musician Nathan Haines, Christchurch jazz vocalist Jennine Bailey, in a Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and Sons of Sinatra.

Ms Chambers said no tickets would cost more than $50.

The festival will also offer school students the opportunity to perform at the Jazz Village and the public the chance to try playing a jazz instrument.

A broader spectrum of jazz with gypsy jazz, traditional, and blues jazz will be performed.

"It's the same-sized festival for more or less half the budget but we've kept the quality," Ms Chambers said.

Tauranga Jazz Society president Darryl Haigh said the festival would feature many new acts as well as festival favourites.

"I am excited to see new acts like jazz flautist Miho Wada and her pocket jazz orchestra. We are proud to once again be hosting the finalists of the RIANZ Jazz Album of the Year TUI Award. The finalists include Nathan Haines, Jennifer Zea, and Whirimako Black who will be making an appearance at the awards event on Easter Sunday," Mr Haigh said.

Society member Dawn Kettlewell said the programme had a "fantastic" line up.

Visit www.jazz.org.nz. To buy tickets phone Ticket Direct on 0800 224 224 or (07) 577 7188.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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