Local blues and roots band Kokomo kicked off the opening concert for the 2016 National Jazz Festival on Thursday night at Baycourt.

The Bay of Plenty band played to a sell-out crowd. This year marked the band's 25th anniversary.

Jazz festival activities would continue today and throughout the Easter weekend.

Read more: Bay's Easter weekend guide


Taking place in the central city today and tomorrow, Tauranga's biggest street party would bring jazz, blues, funk and soul to downtown Tauranga. With five stages set up along The Strand, and family entertainment at Masonic Park, the city was set to be a hive of activity from noon until 6pm each day.

Festival director Rebecca Chambers said there would be a wide range of music from the classic genres to to funk.

"On Saturday we have a great selection of jazz and blues from an awesome line-up of bands. New this year is our Stars of Tomorrow on The Hits Stage where the best young up-and-coming jazz players from the National Youth Jazz Competition will show off their skills.

"We also have jazz in the Art Gallery with Richard Adams and Nigel Gavin performing from 3.15pm to 4.15pm."

The Hurricane Party would be on the Tauranga waterfront. It had expanded to two nights - today and tomorrow from 7.30pm to late. The Hurricane Party was known for delivering high energy performances appealing to a younger audience.

Tomorrow the music would continue with another line-up of 14 bands at the Downtown Carnival as well as family fun at Masonic Park.

-For the full Downtown Carnival line-up see jazz.org.nz Downtown Carnival - Gold coin entry, Children Free. Hurricane Party - tickets $35 available at Ticketek: www.ticketek.co.nz