Tony Davies and “Genie” dancing at the Honest Lawyer for Jazzfest. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Jazzfest hits the right notes in Nelson

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There were plenty of satisfied jazz lovers in Nelson last week, with the 26th Nelson Jazzfest wrapping up on Friday night.

Spanning 15 venues, the four-day festival kicked off with the twilight concert at Founders Heritage Park last Tuesday evening – which luckily escaped the day’s persistent rain.

Nelson Jazzfest director Paul Gilmour says they had a turnout of around 1000 people, with the rain clearing just in time for the first band.

“I was very happy with the turnout – it got the festival off to a great start. And if the weather had been better, we would have had more people.”

The festival saw 18 free events, with all the ticketed events selling out – and despite some changes to the festival this year, such as the move to Founders from Fairfield Park and a later starting date, Paul says it all went very well.

“We’ve established that it’s a good format, which we’ll retain,” he says.

“I’ve had a lot of really positive feedback – there were lots of people from out of town as well as locals enjoying some of the best jazz musicians in New Zealand.”

Despite a drop in council funding this year the festival still produced some top acts such as Sing Sing Sing, The Troubles, TROQ and the Richter City Rebels.

“One local lady came up to me at The Troubles gig at The Boathouse and said it was one of the best shows she has ever seen. It was great.”

East St Cafe also hosted jam sessions each night of the festival, which Paul says were very popular.

“We’ll definitely keep the jam sessions – every night was just packed out and so much fun – they just gave the whole festival a heart.”