Excitement is rising as the 58th National Jazz Festival returns to Tauranga over Easter weekend, showcasing performances from some of the best jazz musicians in the country.
Tauranga's flagship festival includes world-class jazz concerts at the Baycourt Community and Arts Centre, the two-day 43rd National Youth Jazz Competition, a family day at the TECT Jazz Village on Good Friday and the two-day Downtown Carnival on April 3 and 4.
The festival programme also includes a vintage car parade, sunset jazz cruises and performances from the award-winning NZ Army Band, as well as swing, jazz, funk and pop performances with a "playful Kiwi edge".
Festival manager Mark Anderson said it was "definitely exciting" to be able to bring such a great line-up of "awesome" talent, including many local musicians and performers, to Tauranga.
"There is a sense of excitement building not just among the musicians but also among the restaurants and bar owners in downtown Tauranga.
"Particularly those on The Strand and Wharf St who effectively are our partners in helping make the festival a great success, along with the council's events team and our sponsors."
Anderson said there was so much for festival-goers to explore and experience that he was sure there was something for everyone to enjoy, even if people were not big jazz fans.
"This festival is not just about a celebration of beautiful jazz music but there are also lots of different genres within jazz, from blues to Dixie music to funk and much more."
Highlights also included a tribute concert to one of New Zealand's leading jazz artists "To Phil Broadhurst with Love" at Baycourt on April 3.
And the 43rd National Youth Jazz Competition would showcase the "best of emerging jazz talent" from more than 300 secondary school students nationwide.
Anderson said ticket sales were going well and he expected at least 30,000 people to attend.
Tauranga Jazz Society committee president Jeff Baker said the festival was a huge event for the city and involved a massive amount of work from the Jazz Society committee and contractors.
"Past festivals have drawn audiences from all over the country, as well as strong support from locals. Many of the shows in our Baycourt Concert Series tend to sell out and we looking forward to the TECT Historic Village this year as well.
"Once again we will have multiple stages showcasing New Zealand's talented jazz musicians from the Bay of Plenty and around the country.
"The economic benefits to Tauranga are huge. And our hospitality venues on The Strand and Wharf St are overjoyed to see the return of the Downtown Carnival after being hard-hit by the pandemic."
Tickets can be bought at Baycourt Community & Arts Centre or online at ticketek.co.nz