The Blog


The Sunday night Grand Finale concert at the school of music was an appropriate way to wind up the highly successful 2008 Woollaston Nelson Jazzfest. ?Nobody wanted to leave?, said the Jazzfest organiser , Rowena Richards-Orange. ?The last 5 days have been truly special and Sunday night?s concert delivered another dose of fine music and stunning entertainment?.

Richards-Orange went onto explain ?Our festival is truly unique as we provide the majority of our performances free of charge. One fan said they would be paying over 60 pounds (NZ$180) to enjoy this quality of music back in London, but we are able to provide the majority for free thanks to the generous support of funding agencies, commercial sponsors and venues?.

?This year has been the biggest and best yet, just like we promised at our launch in November. The turnout of both locals and visitors has been unbelievable. There were people at Fairfield Park and Washbourn Gardens? who could not even see the stage, however could still enjoy the excellent music and the pleasure of being there? with the support of great sound technicians.
?We owe special thanks to both councils for providing such beautiful settings for our park events and of course, the performers who created such a memorable festival.? Every concert has received glowing reviews and we are gaining a good understanding of the musical tastes of our audiences? said Richards-Orange.

She added ?Work is well underway for next year with many of our sponsors giving us a positive thumbs up for 2009 and new businesses showing interest of participation. This is vital for the continued growth of ?our own? special Nelson and Tasman regional event. Many performers and several seasoned festival lovers have told us that our festival is the best in New Zealand. Some of the reasons are our focus on creating park events for the ?whole family? to enjoy along with over 55 (80%) events being totally free for the public to enjoy. The venues put in some big bucks with most venues being full to capacity for lunch and dinner over the Jazzfest period. The ticketed concerts assist the Jazzfest in paying for equipment and bands. With a budget of over $200k the majority is funded by sponsors.? My aim is to have the Jazzfest totally funded by sponsors and concert sales. By this I mean having Nelson and Tasman businesses as our key sponsors, with them being promoted on our website and programme which launches 8 weeks prior to the event creating a high profile for our sponsors, thus reducing the reliability of grants.

Attendance is estimated at between 25,000 and 30,000 this year over the entire festival period. ?We were blessed with fantastic weather and a lineup of artists to suit all tastes? said Rowena. ?Not everyone is into Jazz and we have to get the message out that the festival has a variety of jazz but it also has lots of other flavours too? she added. ?We will continue to push out the musical boundaries and experiment every year. The feedback received and the huge success of this festival tells us we are doing things right.

The programme of 62 pages with the ?Must See & Do? has been a success, with one fan saying, ?I am taking several copies back to our club in Sydney. We will be back next year with a large group, so keep us posted?. For a lot of our performers it was their first time to Nelson, and not their last as commented by many of the artists and their family who joined them for a holiday in Nelson.
Our aim is to make 2009 even better?. We are working towards making it the biggest Jazzfest in NZ, so we can bring even more visitors into our beautiful city, at the same time keeping the performances mostly free to attend?.? At this stage we expect to keep it to 5 days as by the end of the 5 days, the bands, venues and team are getting weary!

Already we have over 6 bands confirmed for 2009, commencing Friday 2nd through to Tuesday 6th January 2009 with the launch November 2008.

Press Releases and photos are continually being updated on our website over the next week.
For more information contact the organiser, Rowena Richards-Orange
or 03 547 7211