The National Jazz Festival, the longest running festival in the southern hemisphere, returns to Tauranga for its 54th year in March.

The March 24-28 festival delivers live music at the Downtown Carnival where festivities spill on to city streets, the Baycourt Concert Series with local and international artists and at the New Orleans-style Jazz Village.

We've got something for everyone, with an exciting and varied programme of concerts.


Performers include blues and jazz legends Kokomo, Kiwiana swing group Andrew London Trio, Emma Pask and Darren Percival from the The Voice Australia, and, together for the first time, the USA-UK connection - Chris Cain and Roy Phillips.

Annual fixtures will be back, including the 39th National Youth Jazz Competition, the New Orleans-style TECT Jazz Village and the high energy Hurricane Party, which will this year be held at the waterfront.


National Jazz Festival director Becks Chambers said: "This year's festival showcases world-class entertainment with a mix of local and international musicians.

"We've got something for everyone, with an exciting and varied programme of concerts.

"We are also proud to once again be hosting the presentation of the New Zealand Tui award for Best Jazz Album and the APRA Best Jazz Composition Award.

"We're now heading into an intensive two months of work leading up to the festival which will light up the whole of Tauranga."

Ms Chambers said, during the five-day festival, some 50 bands would perform across 16 events.

Read more: Bay set to Buzz this Anniversary weekend

"This year we have really focused on our younger generation, including our waterfront concerts which are especially targeted at young people, and our Dinner in the Domain to attract a much wider and younger audience."

National Youth Jazz Competition director Liam Ryan said this year the competition would include younger students with Jazz for Juniors allowing primary and intermediate students to take part.

"We are all about excellence, and fostering excellence and the National Youth Jazz Competition has long been known for producing real stars.

"Many of our stars of today started their careers at this festival," Mr Ryan said.

National Jazz Festival line up:

* Kokomo
* Andrew London Trio
* The USA - UK Connection
* 39th National Youth Jazz Competition
* Ali Harper
* NZSM Big Band One
* Tauranga Big Band
* FinnLand
* Himmerland with Nuala Kennedy
* Dee DeLuca
* Lex French Quartet
* Andrea Lisa & Band
* Tangerine Acoustic Jazz Group
* Sal Valentine and the Babyshakes
* Richter City Rebels
* Hipstamatics
* Sex on Toast
* Third Steam Trio
* Wellington City Shake 'Em-On-Downers
* Miho Wada
* Two Many Chiefs
* Phil Broadhurst & Guests
* Hamilton Blues Society
* Tauranga Jazz Society