Jazzfest back for 25th festival

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Nelson has welcomed each of the past 24 years with brass and jazz, and organisers of the annual Jazz Festival are planning something a bit special for its 25th birthday.

The Nelson Jazz Festival sees four days of music from local performers, as well as guests from around the world. It will kick off on New Year’s Day in 2016 with a concert at Fairfield Park in Nelson. That concert is the biggest single event of the festival and sees hundreds of people crowd onto the park, with picnics, chairs and dancing shoes.

The festival then moves to several city locations, including free concerts at 1903 Square on Trafalgar St, Morrison Square and performances at a various bars and restaurants.

On Sunday, January 3, a special 25th birthday celebration will be held at the Honest Lawyer. The event will be open to the public and even gives them an opportunity to join in.

The festival attracts funding from Nelson City and Tasman District councils and the Rata Foundation [formally Canterbury Community Trust]. The festival will be rounded off with another open-air concert at Washbourn Gardens in Richmond.

President of the Nelson Jazz Club, Dave North, says it’s an exciting time of year for local jazz musicians. “We work all year on this, we have a great team organising it and for the musicians there’s a lot of rehearsing. But we’re also excited, it’s a fun way to kick off the New Year.”

Dave says they’re hoping that the 25th anniversary of the event will be something special for the city. “This would be the longest running jazz festival in the country and one of the best. They have jazz festivals all over the place now, but Nelson is special. The weather, the music, the crowds, it all makes for a great event for the city.”