Updated 7 April 2017
Easter weekend is going to be a busy one all over New Zealand with heaps of events and activities taking place across the country. One of the most popular events on the calendar over the Easter period is the annual Jazz Festival in Tauranga. This year will see the 55th annual festival held in Tauranga from the 13-17 April and this year there is a truly international lineup that will have jazz lovers drooling!
New Zealand’s jazz capital
Tauranga is widely recognised as New Zealand’s jazz capital with an active jazz scene and playing host to the annual National Jazz Festival. The festival is organised by a team of enthusiasts from the Tauranga Jazz Society and they run an extremely well-oiled machine with a great mix of international and local performers.
The Festival is held in venues throughout Tauranga and the city really comes alive for four days as people spill out onto the streets, cramming into venues to hear some fantastic jazz performances from around the world.
Headlining National Jazz Festival
This year welcomes back faces old and new to the festival which has become a bit of a New Zealand icon and a must do for all jazz fans across the country. Headlining this year’s event will be:
- Nichaud Fitzgibbon
- Paul Ubana Jones
- Swamp Thing
- Roger Fox Funkbone Experience
These awesome shows are held in venues across Tauranga from the Baycourt Addison Theatre to Trinity Wharf and the Tauranga Waterfront.
Jazz and more
The whole weekend is dedicated to jazz but there are heaps of different ways to enjoy the wide variety of performers. In addition to individual and group concerts, there are also a number of other events taking place throughout the festival.
Hurricane Party on the Waterfront
On Sunday night, get yourself down to the waterfront and dance the night away to some awesome jazz, soul and funk from The Cactus Channel and festival favourites the Hipstamatics.
On Saturday and Sunday down on the strand and waterfront, get down to the Downtown Carnival where there will be multiple stages and a gold coin donation for the entry price – not bad for a great afternoon of jazz, blues and funk.
Tect Waterfront Gala
On Monday 17 April you should definitely check out the festival’s very own Waterfront Gala with a mix of jazz, swing and dixie being served up in the intimate setting of the cobbled streets and historic venues.
If you haven’t made plans for the Easter weekend yet and you are looking for something a bit different, then Tauranga could be just the ticket. With the National Jazz Festival taking place over all four days of the long Easter weekend, you can do as much or as little as you want. If you fancy dipping your toe and heading along to just one of the days or throwing yourself in and attending something different every day – it’s all good!
If you are looking for other things to do in the area, you should check out our awesome road trip itineraries. If you are driving in from other parts of New Zealand or even flying into Auckland and driving down, we have lots of itineraries that pass through Tauranga and surrounding areas so be sure to check them out.
For more information about the National Jazz Festival, check out their official website for a full schedule, ticketing and accommodation information.
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