The organiser of the last 26 Bay of Islands Jazz and Blues Festivals — not to mention all 29 Country Rock Festivals to date — says she'll keep going as long as she can.

Shirley May, of Pakaraka, said the weekend's Jazz and Blues Festival was a great success with ticket sales up on last year's 1600.

She put the turnout down to the number of top New Zealand and international artists taking part this year.

They included US blues guitarist Austin Walkin' Cane, who also headlined the 2017 festival; Kiwi jazz legends Nairobi Trio, rarely available due to touring commitments in Europe; Lloyd Spiegel and Andrea Kirwin of Australia; Kiwi blues legend Midge Marsden, who clocked up 50 years in the music industry this year, with Whangarei guitar ace Chet O'Connell; and high-energy instrumental pop band Chihiro Yamazaki and Route 14 from Japan, who added a hip hop dancer in a monkey suit to their lineup this year to help get the party started.


As well as the amount of positive feedback this year, May said she was heartened by the number of young people in the audiences.

All up more than 45 acts played over three days at seven venues in Paihia, Waitangi and Russell.

May said she would keep organising the jazz and blues and country rock festivals as long as she was able.

''When you look around and see how many people are enjoying themselves, you can't just turn your back on that.''

Last year the 67-year-old was awarded a Queen's Service Medal for service to music and the community.