Tauranga’s National Jazz Festival manager Marc Anderson is enthusing about the last five days of jazz in Tauranga.
“The great weather, great music and great support from the public made it a very good few days,” says Marc.
“The bands were of exceptional quality, out of this world. We thought it was very successful, and I really enjoyed that people from Tauranga came out and enjoyed the wonderful music.”
As Marc walked around the downtown carnival on Saturday and Sunday he discovered that everybody around him was smiling.
“It was a really great atmosphere. And we were very lucky with the weather. I was just amazed at the support that the local bars gave us. And there was very good support from the visitors as well,” says Marc.
Large crowds listened to the bands playing in Red Square. Photo: Supplied.
“It was Tauranga at its very best,” says Derek Jacombs from local band Kokomo.
“Wharf Street was packed out. The whole of downtown Tauranga was buzzing, there was a great line up of bands, and perfect weather.”
Kokomo was on stage for a 75 minute set in the Red Square on Saturday playing mostly original songs, and took to the Wharf Street stage on Sunday for another performance, starting each set with their new song ‘Sun Dog’.
“There were people dancing all over the place downtown,” says Derek. “We were absolutely delighted to be asked to be part of such a great festival.”
Kokomo on stage with Damian Forling from Shaken Not Stirred. Photo: Supplied.
Kokomo, which is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year actually formed as a band after a performance at the 1991 Tauranga Jazz Festival.
“It went really well, and it was because of that, that Kokomo, or Kokomo Blues as it was called then, was first formed. We’ve played on and off through the years at the festival,” says Derek.
Like Marc, Derek is also waxing lyrical about this year’s festival.
“I thought it was absolutely brilliant,” says Derek, who also enjoyed the TECT Village Jazz event. “Blue sky, fine day perfect weather for three days. The village was brilliant. I can’t say enough for all the bands I heard downtown. Collision were brilliant, also the Holy Pocket, Catriona Fallon, the Afrolites were terrific, Shaken not Stirred were just brilliant. We were absolutely chuffed to be part of it.
“The sound guys at each of the stages did fantastic work too, it was a perfect day in Tauranga, went very smoothly.”
The addition of Wharf St this year added a new dimension to the downtown carnival on Saturday and Sunday.
“The council have done a great job developing that as it offers another place to hang out in the CBD and another place to eat drink and have fun. It has enhanced the festival, definitely,” says Marc.
“Just to have the opportunity to have another stage and show off more musicians was brilliant.”
Crowds enjoying the new Wharf Street precinct. Photo: Supplied.
“There were also big crowds at the [Tauranga Historic] Village on Friday,” says Marc. “That was exciting to be involved with and see how music can create such goodness.”
Marc was also impressed with the 43rd National Youth Jazz Competition which ran from March 31 to April 1.
“That was a very good effort by Mandy and Liam Ryan to encourage 400 kids to come and express themselves,” says Marc. “It was very emotional seeing young kids do what they love in an environment that is special.
“The people at Baycourt were fantastic. Just to see the enthusiasm of youth from all New Zealand was brilliant.
“I feel humbled to be a part of the Jazz Festival this year to make it happen. I think the Jazz Festival is a really good way of bringing talented musicians and music and people to our area.”
People enjoying the jazz at Good Friday’s Tect Village Festival at Tauranga Historic Village. Photo: Daniel Hines/SunLive.