Organisers estimate more than 30,000 people have so far attended the National Jazz Festival, which ends today.

Festival director Becks Chambers said Saturday night's Hurricane Party and the Jazz at Trinity were sold out, and the carnival was one of the busiest in recent history.

Ms Chambers said there was no doubt the fine weather helped. Over the past few years, the festival and outdoor-based carnival has been plagued by wet weather.

"For the carnival it makes a huge difference," she said.


"People are dancing in the streets. There are people having their picnics on the Strand waterfront. We've had the family fun zone going both days, so there's been lots of families as well as people having a drink and enjoying music."

Ms Chambers said the weather had a major impact on the carnival, but it might have also been responsible for fewer tickets being sold to the festival's indoor concert events.

Organisers said a few tweaks to the festival's format had improved events. Among the tweaks was a fourth stage instead of the traditional three for the carnival.

"Having that extra stage gave us a bit more flexibility," Ms Chambers said.

The music on offer had also evolved, with the festival widening its genre of jazz music to include blues and funk bands, which incorporated some jazz in their set.

"It's a hard one because a lot of people are of the opinion that the jazz festival should solely be jazz. But you have to change with the times and if you have a big event like the Downtown Carnival, you need to cater for the people who are not necessarily into jazz," Ms Chamber said.

Changes had been made to the Jazz Village, with the relocation of the outdoor stage from the village's green field to its cobblestone area for more of a New Orleans feel.

The timing of the village performances today had been bumped from an earlier time slot to a noon- to-8pm period to offer more of a twilight feel at the end of the day, Ms Chambers said.


Final figures and sales would not be known until after the festival drew to a close tonight.

"We are really, really pleased, regardless of numbers. The way people are feeling, we've had lots of positive feedback. We are really pleased and proud," Ms Chamber said.

"I feel everyone has come out of all the concerts really buzzing."

Tauranga busker Reuben Simpson, who has performed at the festival for three years, said the best part about performing at the carnival was being around others who enjoyed jazz as well.

"It's good having an audience who like what you're doing."

Downtown Tauranga spokeswoman Sally Cooke said Saturday was traditionally a great day for retailers, although she would not formally know before today how they fared.

"It was great. The weather was good, there seemed to be a lot of people downtown enjoying the jazz festival," she said.

"A lot of retailers had messages in the window for the jazz festival. I hope retailers alongside the hospitality sector have done well."

Maysie Barrett and her son Jayden, 3, were out enjoying the Downtown Carnival last night. Photo / Rebecca Savory
Maysie Barrett and her son Jayden, 3, were out enjoying the Downtown Carnival last night. Photo / Rebecca Savory

Fans enjoy jazzing it up in Tauranga

The sounds of the Richie Pickard Band reverberated over The Strand last night as bargoers enjoyed a drink in the last of the day's sunshine and the Downtown Carnival wrapped up for another year.

Thousands flocked to The Strand for the Downtown Carnival, showcasing more than 20 combinations and celebrating a range of jazz music on Saturday and yesterday.

Tauranga Big Band director Murray Mason was on the waterfront last night enjoying the talent of the Richie Pickard Band after a busy few days at the festival.

"They are the best group I've heard down here today. Very sophisticated, incredibly knowledgeable, amazing musicianship and beautiful dynamic."

The Phoenix owner, Mark Lawrence, said the carnival had made for a fantastic weekend for the community and for business.

Locals made up a lot of the crowds but people had also come from around the country and from around the world, he said. One customer told him she had been coming to the festival from Auckland every year for the past 18 years.

Saturday was always the biggest day, with a lot of people out for a drink, and things slowed down yesterday with a more relaxed crowd. Special licences granted to bars on The Strand to serve drinks without meals during the Easter holiday trading restrictions was essential for business, he said.

Maysie Barrett took her 3-year-old son, Jayden, to the carnival yesterday to enjoy the music.

They come from a family of keen musicians so loved having all the jazz in one place to enjoy, but appreciated there was also things for the kids.

The two had pulled up a seat and were watching a comical street performer take on five basketballs.

They went to the festival every year but Ms Barrett thought this year was one of the best.