Get be­hind the fes­ti­val

‘No bet­ter place’ for jazz and blues event

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By GRANT BRYANT

The ail­ing Queen­stown In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val has re­ceived a ma­jor en­ergy in­vest­ment from Billy TK Jnr tak­ing the reins, but punter sup­port is vi­tal, he says. TK Jnr is New Zealand mu­sic roy­alty, a blis­ter­ing lead gui­tarist who has stomped in­ter­na­tional stages with Ge­orge Thoro­good, Jimmy Barnes and The Neville Brothers since 1993. How­ever, in 2010 TK Jnr added fes­ti­val di­rec­tor to his reper­toire, us­ing his off-stage con­nec­tions, or­gan­i­sa­tional skills and de­sire to see mu­sic fes­ti­vals live up to their full po­ten­tial to stage jazz and blues fes­ti­vals through­out the pa­cific. Un­der his belt are the 2010 Samoa In­ter­na­tional Jazz and Blues Fes­ti­val, the 2011 and 2012 Fiji In­ter­na­tional Jazz and Blues Fes­ti­val, with events in Tahiti and Van­u­atu in the pipe­line. TK Jnr was con­tacted by fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers as a po­ten­tial per­former last year, but had prior gigs booked. He took a look at the fes­ti­val web­site and or­gan­i­sa­tion, how­ever, and saw po­ten­tial. ‘‘In my hum­ble opin­ion there’s no bet­ter place to have a jazz and blues fes­ti­val in New Zealand,’’ he said. ‘‘Queen­stown is al­ready an iconic tourism desti­na­tion and has the per­fect lay­out to stage some­thing that is both in­ti­mate and vi­brant and a real spec­ta­cle too.’’ Dis­cus­sions kicked off near the end of last year then in Fe­bru­ary, TK Jnr was en­gaged as fes­ti­val di­rec­tor and the event be­came the Queen­stown In­ter­na­tional Jazz and Blues Fes­ti­val. The spur to be­come in­volved gives TK Jnr a chance to ex­pand the list of mu­sic fes­ti­vals around the Pa­cific, but does not come with­out a de­gree of risk. ‘‘I’m look­ing at this with a longterm strat­egy in mind, which is to make the event a real bench­mark in New Zealand and in­ter­na­tional jazz and blues fes­ti­vals. ‘‘But that de­pends hugely on the peo­ple of Queen­stown and how much they sup­port it.’’ The three stages set up around the Steamer Wharf on Queen­stown’s down­town water­front are de­signed to pull crowds dur­ing the day, and gigs will move in­side to venues in the wharf com­plex at night for tick­eted gigs. ‘‘It’s fun to venue hop in­side a com­plex like the Steamer Wharf, which will be our core fes­ti­val hub, but we’ve got other venues locked in for spe­cial­ist gigs. ‘‘Be­tween the tick­eted and free pro­gramme there’s a huge amount of va­ri­ety. We’re aim­ing to give a lot of choice in the free pro­gramme in the hope that peo­ple will be re­ally keen to at­tend the night time, tick­eted events.’’

Gui­tar hero: Kiwi leg­end Billy TK Jnr, has taken the reins of the newly re­named Queen­stown In­ter­na­tional Jazz and Blues Fes­ti­val, hap­pen­ing over Labour Weekend. What: The Queen­stown In­ter­na­tional Jazz and Blues Fes­ti­val When: Oc­to­ber 24 to 27 Where: Steamer Wharf will be the hub with events also at Queen­stown Me­mo­rial Hall, Novo­tel, the Sky­line Com­plex and De­bajo, as well as Blues Cruises on the Spirit of Queen­stown. Who: More than 70 jazz and blues mu­si­cians from the USA, Aus­tralia and New Zealand play­ing cool and raw blues, jazz and acid jazz, soul, funk and big band swing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.