We are moving and rebuilding this website at the moment, sorry about the mess!

Tauranga Jazz Festival

Dates: 24 – 28 March 2016

Locations: Downtown Tauranga, Baycourt Theatre, Historic Village etc

Read about previous years to see they type of excitement in store 🙂

World famous, the Tauranga Jazz Festival (now known as the National Jazz Festival) is NZ’s most popular festival with up to 60,000 people attending a multitude of events over 5 days. Held in Tauranga each year, the event showcases New Zealand’s top jazz musicians, with a couple of international names added to the mix. This years festival is lining up to be another cracker event with over 15 main events and dozens more performances.

While it is the ‘National’ festival there are a couple of international acts for the 2014 festival included Jackie Ryan (US), Scott Harrison (AUS) and George Washing Machine (AUS). Top NZ acts include Adam Page, Midge Marsden, Recloose, Miho Wada and many, many more.

Downtown Carnival

The Downtown Carnival is on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th April on Tauranga’s waterfront. The street is blocked off from traffic and comes alive with 4 stages, each offering something a little different. Restaurants and Cafe’s are open all day. A gold coin donation gains you entry to the Carnival which run from Noon til 6pm on Satruday, Noon til 5pm on Sunday.

On Saturday there will be a Family Fun Zone from 10.30am. Carnival Rides, face painting and all those magical things to keep the kids happy. There will be roaming street performers and musicians to delight you all day. This year also features a brass and nickel Vintage Car Parade on the Saturday morning, so its a great time to head down. The Little Big Market runs most of the weekend. Buses are free, check out baybus.co.nz. See this page for this years map and programme.

Jazz Village

Not to be missed is the “Jazz Village” located on 17th Ave at the Historic Village. On Sunday and Monday, experience New Orleans style entertainment in the historic town setting. Music will fill the air with both inside and outside events. Designed for the discerning jazz lover, tickets are just $10. You can find more infomation here for specific show listings. Runs 10am to 5pm both days.

Concert Series and the House of Jazz and Blues

This year Baycourt Theatre is home to the majority of scheduled performances over the weekend. There are shows 3 times daily featuring various artists, with the larger events starting from 8pm. Featuring top young talent, the House of Jazz and Blues is on at MauaoPAC. Read more about the Concert Series and HoJaB.

More Events

Other events include the Hurricane Party, Friday Night Big Band and so much more. There simply are too many events to list here! Check out the Jazz.org.nz website for more info.

Tauranga Jazz Festival Accommodation

Accommodation in Tauranga usually always books out ahead of the festival. Don’t arrive hoping to secure a room. Book your Jazz Festival accommodation ahead of time. Check out our Accommodation section, use the widget below, or skip right to the booking site.

Jazz Festival Writeups (Previous Years)

Below you can read write ups on previous years, to get you in the mood!

Stunning Line Up for Tauranga Jazz Festival
Two international music legends, a new jazz fusion club, and a tribute to one the ‘greatest female jazz/pop singers of the 20th century’ feature in the 48th National Jazz Festival in Tauranga. The five-day event – to be held over Easter 2010 – features a stunning line-up of more than 60 bands and musicians. Popular features from 2009 returning include the Jazz Steamtrain, The Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga Jazz Riverboat and the TV3 Jazz Village.

As the third oldest jazz festival in the world, the National Jazz Fest is an iconic event on the music calendar in New Zealand. ‘Last year’s festival was superb,’ says Festival Director Arne Herrmann. ‘This year will be even better.’ 

Headlining the National Jazz Festival is six-time Grammy award-winning jazz legend Dr John with his band, The Lower 911.
‘Bringing Dr John to Tauranga is a dream come true. He is regarded as one of the New Orleans legends mentioned in the same breath with Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino.’

A staple of the New Orleans music scene, Dr John has performed and recorded with many artists including Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin. Even Muppet ‘Dr Teeth’ was modelled on him. His Grammy awards include the 2008 Best Contemporary Blues Album for ‘City That Care Forgot’, an album of lament for New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Also featuring in the international line-up is the man they call ‘the Godfather of Acid Jazz’, Hammond organ legend Brian Auger. Joined by son Karma on drums, daughter Savannah on vocals, and Andreas Geck on bass, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express melds together jazz, rock, soul and funk for a one night only concert.

Opening the festival on Thursday 1 April is a very special concert paying tribute to Peggy Lee, whose voice and songs changed the music scene of the ‘40s and ‘50s.

In Things Are Swingin’ – Peggy Lee: The Woman and Her Music, sultry jazz songstress Erna Ferry is joined by Rodger Fox and a hand-picked band to pay tribute to the life and music of this legendary vocalist. Peggy Lee’s wonderful songs include ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’, ‘It’s a Good Day’, ‘Lover’, ‘Fever’ and ‘Manana’ and ‘Is That All There Is?’

New 16-piece orchestra Brett’s New Internationals Big Band harks back to the ‘20s, celebrating the tunes played by Duke Ellington, Jean Goldkette, Jack Hylton, Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman and the Savoy Orpheans. They will be joined by the glamorous Syncopettes, the orchestra’s female vocal trio, and the Tauranga Big Band for a special Festival set.

The gorgeous voices of a capella gospel choir Jubilation will raise the roof at Holy Trinity on Friday 2 April. The 30-strong choir includes renowned vocalists Rick Bryant, Jackie Clarke and Jean McAllister as they sing gospel alongside songs from Tom Waits, Nina Simone and Don McGlashan.

New for 2010 is Global Breakthrough – a music festival concept created in London and debuting in New Zealand at the National Jazz Festival. This two night concert series, staged in an aircraft hangar at Mt Maunganui’s Classic Flyers, brings together nu-jazz maestro Nathan Haines and leading contemporary jazz musicians in his band and the Opensouls line up.

‘Artistic Director Liam Ryan and I are constantly pushing ourselves as a team to cater for a wide range of people and we’re not afraid to try new things.’ Mr Herrmann says.

‘Global Breakthrough is our message to younger audiences: ‘hey we are here for you, too!’
‘Great live music has no age barriers. Bringing the people that are in the charts and taking them outside the theatre in an unusual concert setting is our invitation to a younger audience to breathe festival air.’

Also new is the Orange Festival Ball – Jazz at the Movies. In a festival first, acclaimed British silent movie composer Paul Lewis has created a new music score to accompany rare film footage of life in New Zealand from the ‘20s to the ‘60s. The moving images include scenes from the Royal Show in 1926, Around the World in an Austin Seven (1929), and a light-hearted look at the 1967 Orange Festival in the Bay of Plenty.

The festival’s University of Waikato Jazz Club at Baycourt’s Exhibition space features leading New Zealand jazz bands and musicians in an eclectic mix which mingles jazz favourites Nairobi Trio and Samsom Nacey Haines Trio with rising star LA Mitchell; Phil Broadhurst’s Made in New Zealand, a celebration of original Kiwi music, the sounds of Cuba with Orquesta Nueva Zelanda, hot Brazilian samba with Zamba Flam, and The Jews Brothers.

The Jazz Steamtrain is back with two special excursions to choose from – the Coastal Express, a two-hour round trip, or the four-hour Coastal Discovery with three bands on board,  strolling between carriages and a selection of fine wines and food to tempt the tastebuds.

Also returning is The Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga Jazz Riverboat with a gentle harbour tour of Tauranga Moana aboard the Kewpie enjoying the sounds on the on-board jazz band.

And Tauranga’s own version of New Orleans’ French Quarter, the TV3 Jazz Village returns. This was a real favourite in 2009 with thousands of visitors coming to join in the fun, Mr Herrmann says. ‘This year we’re planning more of everything to make this a memorable experience again.’

Other features during the 48th National Jazz Festival include the Port of Tauranga Youth Jazz Competition featuring this year’s prizewinning musicians in the More FM Young Guns Showcase; and the Downtown Tauranga Carnival with four stages bringing a diverse assortment of jazz to the central city.

The full line up for the 48th National Jazz Festival is available at www.jazz.org.nz. Be quick! Early bird tickets with discounts for most events are available only until 8 January 2010. Book tickets at Ticket Direct by phoning 0800 4TICKET (484 253) or at www.ticketdirect.co.nz 
Photos courtesy jazz.org.nz


The 47th National Jazz Festival in Tauranga – What You Need to Know
Tauranga’s annual jazz festival will soar to new heights next year, with 40 jazz bands playing 12 different stages – including Grammy award-winning New Orleans act, The Blind Boys of Alabama.

The five day festival at Easter 2009, the 47th National Jazz Festival, is tipped to draw crowds of more than 30,000 people.
It’s the first time in 46 years the Festival has engaged a professional team to produce the hugely popular event, and they’ve given the format and programme a shakeup. 

Fresh additions include turning the Historic Village into a New Orleans-style ‘jazz village,’ and launching a jazz ‘riverboat’ aboard a local charter boat. 

The Historic Village in 17th Ave will be transformed into a Festival version of the New Orleans French Quarter, for two jam-packed days of jazz, barbershop quartets, buskers, tap-dancers, a Louisiana-style funeral marching band, and food stalls. The bands playing there will include national acts such as Shaken Not Stirred, The Alibis and Darcy Perry Band, playing alongside local bands such as Kokomo. A ‘Mississippi riverboat experience’ will be created on board the Kewpie, which will cruise the harbour with on-board band.

Programmes? Bookings?
The Festival will run from 9 – 13 April. Tickets sales are now available at Baycourt TicketDirect, ph: 07 577 7188. Festival Concert Programmes are available from selected retail outlets and cafes in Tauranga, and Baycourt Theatre. Or visit www.jazz.org.nz. If you don’t get a chance, we’ll bring a full refresher on who’s playing, when and where…in our February newsletter. 

JAZZ: It’s no surprise that some of the headline acts are selling out, but there’s plenty on offer that’s free – or inexpensive.  Here are our tips on indulging in some fine jazz for nil or bargain basement prices.  The free Downtown Tauranga Carnivalhappens in the central city on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 April, with four stages showcasing a rich assortment of jazz.

There will be four stages – Classic Hits Stage at The Strand, Strand 2, Red Square and a special Indigenous Stage at the Aspen Reserve in Willow Street. Artists include Tauranga favourites – the Self Righteous Brothers Blues Ensemble (Derek Jacombs and Nigel Masters from Kokomo), NZ jazz drummer Frank Gibson with The Young Lions, , Mike Garner, Brilleaux, Reputations and Liquid Colours from Auckland. The Indigenous Stage will feature artists including Maori Jazz musician Whirimako Black.

Just $10 will get you in on the fun at the TV3 Jazz Village – Tauranga’s own version of New Orleans French Quarter – at the Historic Village in 17th Ave on Sunday 4 and Monday 5. The Village will feature more than 20 bands on four stages as well as strolling bands, food and art stalls and children’s activities. Children under 14 get in free along with TECT cardholders. There will be two entrances into the village from 17th Avenue.

‘We want the National Jazz Festival to be for everyone,’ says Festival Director Arne Herrmann. ‘The Carnival and the Jazz Village will be fun events for the wider community, with the Carnival an upbeat street affair, and the Jazz Village catering for a more relaxed family day out.’

Lining up at the Village will be top musicians Kokomo, Torch Songs, Shaken Not Stirred and the Darcy Perry Band. International guest performers include Yggdrasil (Faroe Islands), Phil Tweed and Mark Lockett from Australia and Mike Cooper (U.K.).  You can even have a little jam yourself – take your instrument to the Hothouse Jamming Stage with the Hamilton Blues Club on Saturday, and the Bay of Plenty Blues Club on Sunday.

More Jazz Bargains…Clubs, Boats, Movies

All three cost less than $65 for adults:

The University of Waikato JAZZ CLUB
The Jazz Club concert series in Baycourt’s Exhibition Space will feature Nairobi Trio, and Orquesta Nueva Zelanda, to name just a couple. Pre-order your food platters, relax into your seat and indulge in a helping of the finest jazz music. Baycourt Exhibition Centre, Durham Street.

The Sebel Trinity Wharf Tauranga JAZZ RIVERBOAT
A Mississippi theme taken onto Tauranga harbour with jazz cruises on the Kewpie.
This quaint cruiser will sail as a jazz riverboat to take festival fans on a gentle evening cruise. Indulge in some fine food and a selection of wines and beers while an onboard jazz band entertains. Departs from The Sebel Trinity Wharf, 51 Dive Cres, Friday April 2 to Sunday April 4.

JAZZ AT THE MOVIES – Orange Festival Ball
 Jazz goes to the movies. In a festival first, acclaimed British silent movie composer Paul Lewis has created a new music score to accompany an afternoon viewing of rare film footage of life in New Zealand from the 1920s to the ‘60’s. The images include scenes from the Royal Show in (1926), A Journal of a Trip to Mt Cook (1926), Around the World in an Austin Seven (1929),  and a light-hearted look at the 1967 Orange Festival in the Bay of Plenty. Cabaret style seating and features The Picturehouse Players. Venue: Jazz Club Baycourt, April 2 to April 4. 

A Mixed Bag of Concerts (From around $45 to $85) :

Six times Grammy-award winning jazz legend Dr John will seduce the Bay with his musical gumbo –an exotic brew of jazz, soul, blues, funk, R&B, boogie-woogie and Creole roots. Igniting the jazz world for over half a century this charismatic singer and pianist is a staple of the New Orleans music scene and is universally celebrated as a living embodiment of Jazz – he even had a Muppet created in his honour. Performing and recording with many artists including Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison, and Aretha Franklin to name a few, his impressive list of Grammy awards include the recent ‘2008 Best Contemporary Blues Album for ‘City that Care Forgot’ an album of lament for his native New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Venue: Baycourt Theatre, Sunday April 4, 7.30 pm. (BOOKED OUT!)  Monday 5 April, 6.30pm (STILL TICKETS LEFT AT PUBLICATION TIME!)

BRIAN AUGER’S Oblivion Express (USA/UK)
The man that people call ‘The Godfather of Acid Jazz’, Hammond B3 organ legend, Brian Auger, will set the keys on fire in this one-night-only concert. His distinct style combines jazz, rock, soul and funk, fused into a rhythmical firework that is clearly recognizable to his millions of fans. With over 20 records to his name on the RCA and Warner Bros. labels, Brian Auger has accumulated a Grammy Nomination, 10 albums charting in Billboard’s Hot 100, and a #1 single. Brian’s bands over the years have featured Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll and even Jimi Hendrix.  The Oblivion Express is a family affair featuring son Karma and daughter Savannah, who live up to the Auger name and make the Oblivion Express smoke. Venue: Baycourt Theatre, Saturday 3 April, 8pm

THINGS ARE SWINGIN’ – Peggy Lee: The Woman and Her Music. GALA OPENING NIGHT (Under $50!)
The voice and songs that changed the music scene in the 40’s and 50’s belonged to Peggy Lee. Celebrated as ‘the nation’s most popular female vocalist’ by Billboard Magazine in 1950, and the voice fronting the Benny Goodman big band in the 40s, the effervescent Peggy Lee created a musical legacy. In a specially scripted show, sultry jazz songstress Erna Ferry pays tribute to the life & music of this legendary vocalist. With musical director Rodger Fox and a hand-picked band, songs will include ‘Why Don’t You Do Right,’  ‘It’s A Good Day,’ ‘Lover’, ‘Fever,’ and ‘Manana.’ Get out your glitzy dress; put on your bow tie for the glamorous opening night of the 48th National Jazz Festival! Venue: Baycourt Theatre,  Thursday 1 April, 8pm

Brett’s New Internationals Big Band and The Tauranga Big Band
Living and breathing the jazz and dance music of the 1920’s, Brett’s New Internationals is a sixteen piece orchestra celebrating the tunes played by Duke Ellington, Jean Goldkette, Jack Hylton, Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman and the Savoy Orpheans. Not only do the charts stem from the roaring twenties, but also many of their instruments were made during the dance band era. The snappy sounds of Brett’s New Internationals are further complimented by the glamorous Syncopettes – the orchestra’s own female vocal trio with their distinct “vo-do-deo” sound. Tauranga also performs.  Venue: Baycourt Theatre, Friday 2, 8pm.

This debut in NZ will bring you Nathan Haines as you’ve never seen or heard him before. Global Breakthrough is a music festival concept that was created in London, with   electronic roots and an eclectic sound meandering through house, minimal, funk, jazz and soul.  It’s a coming together of like-minded people that share that common passion for real music wherever its roots may be.  Over two nights GB brings together nu-jazz maestro, Nathan Haines and some of the country’s leading contemporary jazz musicians in the Nathan Haines All Stars and Opensouls line-ups.  DJ’s will mix it up fusing their soundscapes with the live music of these two top bands. GB features guest vocalist Vanessa Freeman (UK), keyboardist Mike Patto (UK), DJ Chris Cox and the resident GB DJ, Pierre Estienne from South Africa. ‘Having run the club night “Bemsha” at London’s Notting Hill arts club for over 4 years I was keen to put a little of that vibe into these two nights.  To me Jazz has always been about dancing and having fun, and although I have enjoyed playing formal concert halls around New Zealand and the globe, the intention of these two nights is to break down the barrier between artist and audience.’ – Nathan Haines

Venue: Classic Flyers Museum Hangar, 9 Jean Batten Drive, Mount Maunganui, Friday 2 April – Opensouls with DJ sets from Nathan Haines & DJ Pierre. Saturday 3 April – Nathan Haines with UK guests Vanessa Freeman and Mike Patto DJ Sets from Chris Cox and DJ Pierre

JUBILATION – A Capella Gospel Choir
From the Wellington Jazz Festival and WOMAD to The Old Cheese Factory in Arrowtown, gospel supergroup Jubilation has thrilled audiences around the country with its vocal fireworks. The 30 voices strong choir includes renowned vocalists Rick Bryant, Jackie Clarke and Jean McAllister. Witness the rousing energy of this ensemble when they go a capella on songs by Tom Waits, Nina Simone and Don McGlashan. The result is magic. Venue:  Holy Trinity Church, Devonport Road, Friday 2, 6pm.


Experience this year’s prize-winning young musicians, the Young Guns, live on stage and find out who will be awarded the Port of Tauranga BEST of FESTIVAL Trophy for the most outstanding Jazz Band in 2010. The prize-giving takes place at the end of the concert. Venue: Baycourt Theatre, Sunday 4, 1:30 pm.

For more details on the 48th National Jazz Festival:  www.jazz.org.nz. Book tickets at Ticket Direct by phoning 0800 4TICKET (484 253) or at www.ticketdirect.co.nz