THE Incubator Creative Hub have been eyeing up a misplaced building at the village for four years.

Otumoetai Primary School's old music room, which is more than 100 years old, has been sitting unused at the Historic Village while the hub has worked towards making it theirs.

They saw the high-ceiling, kauri-floored building as the perfect venue for their very own Jam Factory — dedicated to gigs and connecting the local music community.

A purpose built music hub has been on The Incubator's wishlist, says director Simone Anderson.


The Incubator has helped breathe new life into the Historic Village since their inception in 2013. The Incubator resume now includes The Incubator gallery, The People's Gallery, The Artery Art Learning space, with tutors and art studio spaces.

Their latest addition was relocated to the back of The Incubator (in front of 17th Ave) six months ago.

When The Incubator team were given the nod it was theirs, the volunteers set to work.

It has been repainted, with bi-fold doors put in, a deck added, wheelchair access created and the blackboard space was covered to create a stage area.

"We spent the first three days pulling staples out of the walls," says live events co-ordinator John Baxter.

The Jam Factory was once Otumoetai Primary School's music room. Photograph by George Novak.
The Jam Factory was once Otumoetai Primary School's music room. Photograph by George Novak.

Rugs, furniture, artwork and a baby grand piano have been donated.

Gigs are already under way here including the Ethno Festival, Holly Arrowsmith, Michael Dunstan from Australia and Sounds of India.

"We embrace everyone from punk to opera," John says. "As diverse as we can possibly get it. Artists are always learning from other artists."


Word has been getting around and The Jam Factory dates are filling up.

Community music co-ordinator Tristan Hancock says they have been working on building a connected and informed music community.

This includes creating a broad directory for local musicians.

The Jam Factory. Photograph by George Novak.
The Jam Factory. Photograph by George Novak.

"What we are really trying to do is to raise the amount music there is locally."

Tristan hopes to build relationships with schools, Toi Ohomai, classical/chamber, multicultural, youth music groups and the greater arts community.

The first meeting of the Bay of Plenty Ukulele orchestra is soon under way.

Playing at The Jam Factory will give emerging musicians more opportunity to showcase their music. It can be hard for bands playing original music to land gigs at local pubs, Tristan says.

John sees The Jam Factory as a "stepping stone" for new local bands.

"It has become a known venue on the touring music circuit for international emerging musicians — often touring to launch their first albums or taking a break from the festival circuit," Simone says.

The Incubator has always been 50 per cent music focused, Simone says, and their gallery/studio area was never the perfect place for gigs due to the lack of space and chill factor.

But The Jam Factory is the perfect venue, she says.

"A mix of community engagement activities through music and a fringe event space — opening a whole new world of edgy, diverse and affordable music to the Bay of Plenty. Interest has been overwhelming. We never realised it was going to be so big."

Historic Village team leader Blair Graham says the arts play a massive part in their community's wellbeing.

"The Incubator has developed a strategic direction that aligns well with that of The Historic Village. As opportunities such as Otumoetai School House and Carters Cottage have come online, it simply made sense to place initiatives such as The Jam Factory and Satellite Studio's into those spaces."

If anyone is interested in utilising the space, email The Incubator