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Wellington set to host its biggest Jazz Festival yet

The capital’s streets are set to hum as the city gets ready to host its biggest ever jazz festival in June.

With more than 150 gigs at 45 venues, 250 jazz musicians and thousands of live music fans will descend on Wellington for the five-day mid-winter music feast across 7-11 June.  Wellington Jazz Festival’s Artistic Director Shelagh Magadza said there is an almost overwhelming amount of jazz talent on offer at the 2017 Festival this year.

“With a programme this huge it’s impossible to make all my recommendations here, but there is so much great music on offer, quite aside from our awesome Opera House headliners Bill Frisell and Dianne Reeves.  Whether it’s former One O’Clock Lab drummer from the US, Ari Hoenig at Pyramid Club, Nathan Haines performing at Thistle Inn, ex pats Lex French and Jasmine Lovell-Smith collaborating at Havana Bar, or the Jelly Rolls’ album release party at Caroline, there’s such an exciting, eclectic mix. Get hold of the Jazz Festival programme, plan your gigs, and make a weekend of it,” Shelagh said.

Rogue & Vagabond Birth of Cool Alexis French and Oscar Laven - photo by Clarrisa Mattos

The free Classic Albums Live series also returns to Rogue & Vagabond this year, while the popular free series at St Peters on Willis church will play host to Brad Kang and The Secret Island Quintet.

Families and foodies are in for a treat with the return of the jazz-themed Night Market on lower Cuba Street on Saturday 10 June, and the Festival’s ‘Jazz Bites’ partnerships with top restaurants and bars mean plenty of specials on food and drink throughout the Festival, such as ‘A Kind of Blue’ pizza at The Third Eye and the ‘French Seoul’ cocktail at Foxglove.

The Wellington City Council is the Wellington Jazz Festival’s core partner, and Mayor Justin Lester says he’s looking forward to seeing the city’s hospitality sector come alive with jazz in June.

“With more than 150 events at around 45 locations, it’s clear that this busy winter music festival creates a lot of value –  for our people and businesses.  Aside from all the brilliant musicians involved, the level of community support is impressive, with so many bars, clubs, restaurants, and hotels keen to get amongst it. We know that around 30% of the 2016 Wellington Jazz Festival audience came from outside the Wellington region, so it’s a fantastic chance to show off both the capital’s jazz talents and our amazing hospitality sector to visitors to Wellington that weekend,” the Mayor said.

The full Wellington Jazz Festival programme is available at at 9am Thursday 13 April.

About the Wellington Jazz Festival

  • Wellington Jazz Festival runs 7-11 June 2017
  • Over 150 gigs will take place over five days at 45 venues
  • The Jazz Festival draws a national audience of around 25,000 music fans
  • Visit our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @welljazzfest

Updated on 13th April 2017