The bands played on and the sun came out for a "pumping" National Jazz Festival this year, despite 11th-hour changes thrust on to organisers working through the wee hours to make the Tauranga event a success.

"It has gone amazingly," Ms Chambers said.

"I guess the most disappointing thing for us is the youth competition for the festival which started on Thursday. Unfortunately due to the cyclone, a number of schools were not able to make it, but it ended up being okay."

Cyclone Cook's arrival shut down most main roads and flights into Tauranga and prompted many businesses and buildings, including Baycourt Community and Arts Centre where the competition was being held, to close early.

Advertisement

"We've never had to do that before, in 17 years. That was our major complication. So we were a little bit nervous as to how it was going to go."

Organisers also erected a large stage and marquee at the waterfront for the festival's Hurricane Party but had to remove it because of cyclone warnings and relocated the party to Totara St at Mount Maunganui.

Ms Chambers said the last-minute changes meant people working around the clock to ensure as much as possible was set up for the festival's weekend events.

An initial slump in ticket sales also created concern.

"There was a static couple of days where normally we see an increase but because of the cyclone it was stagnant. You think 'oh gosh, is it going to be a disaster? But after that everyone came along at the last minute. Thank goodness."

Ms Chambers said despite early worries, there had been strong attendance at most of the festival's events. Headline act Alchemy, featuring Julia Dean, Ria Hall, Anna Coddington and Bella Kalolo, was just a couple of seats short of selling out, she said.

People poured into The Strand to enjoy the Downtown Carnival as part of the Tauranga National Jazz Festival over the weekend. Photo/George Novak
People poured into The Strand to enjoy the Downtown Carnival as part of the Tauranga National Jazz Festival over the weekend. Photo/George Novak

The weekend's sunny weather also meant plenty of people enjoyed the outdoor party atmosphere of the Downtown Carnival on The Strand. The area was humming with activity throughout the weekend. Large crowds gathered at individual stages to dance in the street and watch performances.

Ms Chambers said she was heartened to see so many people enjoying the buzz and sharing positive feedback.

Advertisement
People have been really nice and the bar staff are loving it. It couldn't have really gone better.

"I was really warmed because you do put so much work and the time into it and it's easy to say 'oh let's can the whole thing' but it really takes a lot of optimism to get people excited and working through the night to get everything up and running."

Brew Bar duty manager Sophie Thompson said the bar's extended outdoor seating area had been consistently packed with people from open to close throughout the weekend.

Ms Thompson said her team was a little nervous on Thursday before Cyclone Cook but found many punters travelled into Tauranga on Friday after the weather had cleared up and the place had been "pumping" since.

People in the street commented on the "awesome atmosphere" and "cool vibe" while others lined The Strand entrance to get in.

"People have been really nice and the bar staff are loving it. It couldn't have really gone better," Ms Thompson said.