Caitlin Smith Caitlin Smith CREDIT: Southern PR
Ray Woolf Ray Woolf CREDIT: Southern PR
Lewis McCallum Lewis McCallum CREDIT: Southern PR

Queenstown jazz festival strikes new chord

Friday 4 September 2009, 3:24PM
By Southern PR


Queenstown swings into spring this October with some exciting changes to its 31st annual jazz festival.

A carnival atmosphere will take over the town as the ASB Queenstown JazzFest brings music to the masses in a 10-day live music celebration from 17 to 26 October.

A sensational line-up of more than 50 bands and 200 Kiwi and international performers form a four pronged programme of free gigs, ticketed headline concerts, musical development and youth competition designed to involve, encourage, entertain and inspire all ages.

Cool blues, big band swing, funky R&B, vibrant Latin sounds, Dixie bands, and jazz-influenced dance music are just a few of the international jazz styles that will be showcased around the district.

This year’s star-studded lineup includes top Kiwi entertainers Rodger Fox and Ray Woolf, the Neil Cowley Trio direct from the UK, multi-talented singer-songwriter Caitlin Smith, the Baden Project, Tambolele, and Tahuna Breaks. New Zealand’s foremost drummer Frank Gibson, saxophonist Lewis McCallum, blues boys Mike Frost and the Icemen, and King Leo and the Growling Dogs are also back by popular demand.

Queenstown Jazz Festival Trust chairperson Luke Baldock says this year the programme has been structured into four categories to enhance the festival experience:

“This is Queenstown’s major springtime event and we want to help people get in the mood to celebrate.”

The four-pronged festival programme is split into:

· The Concert Programme - Local, national, and international headline acts entertain and showcase artists through free and ticketed concerts and free Community Spotlight stages.

· The Gig Programme - Involves the community in free or low cost gigs held in venues throughout the district.

· The Development Programme - Inspires and progresses musician skills of all ages and experience levels through master classes, workshops and music forums.

· The Competition Programme - Encourages artistic endeavour and highlights the skills of musicians through a national youth competition, emerging talent competition, and the JazzFest Trust awards.

There are plenty of opportunities for the community to get involved in the festival, from attending concerts to participating in workshop / master classes. The festival also includes national youth and emerging talent jazz competitions where up and coming musicians between the ages of 12 and 25 are given a chance to shine.

There’s also been a changing of the guard within the event management team. Long-time Queenstown Jazz Festival Trust members Harvey Maguire and Trevor Tattersfield have resigned and Jan Maxwell, QLDC’s arts and events facilitator and keen supporter of the arts, has joined the team of existing trustees Luke Baldock, Nicola Lindsay and Peter Howe.

Behind the scenes, the festival has also undergone a financial restructure and a new sponsorship tier system and commercial/private ‘festival patronage’ has been introduced.

The ASB Queenstown JazzFest attracts approximately 21,000 visitors to the region over Labour Weekend and injects approximately $6 million into the local economy.

Festival tickets go on sale Tuesday 8 September and can be purchased online through www.asbjazzfest.co.nz, at Queenstown i-Site (corner of Shotover and Camp streets) or by calling TicketDirect on 0800 224 224 (03 450 9110).


For more festival information please visit www.asbjazzfest.co.nz.