Iconic Queenstown jazz festival celebrates 30th anniversary

An iconic Queenstown jazz festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an exhilarating ten-day programme of live music and a star-studded line up of performers. From 18 to 27 October more than 50 bands and 200 performers will inspire and entertain at the ASB JazzFest Queenstown with a programme of 80 free events and ticketed headline concerts in 'God's Amphitheatre'. Haunting blues, big band swing, 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 region.

The star-studded line up includes Kiwi favourites Tim Beveridge and the Candy Lane Dancers, multi-talented singer-songwriter Anika Moa, violin virtuoso Fiona Pears, the Frank Gibson Quartet featuring New Zealand's foremost drummer, Lewis McCallum, one of the country's most versatile and exciting saxophonists, jazz fusion group Subject2Change, uptown blues specialists King Leo and The Growling Dogs and many, many others.

Festival Music Director Harvey Maguire said the festival had much to celebrate after humble beginnings thirty years ago when he and a group of dedicated musicians first got together in the now defunct O'Connells Hotel's Cellar Inn for two days of music over Labour weekend.

"Now we aim to encourage, involve, entertain and inspire with a range of performances from superbly talented musicians representing a variety of jazz-influenced styles, " he said.

"For the purists there are plenty of 'traditional' jazz performances, but for our younger audience we've grown and evolved events like the Groove Beatz Dance Party, featuring Lewis McCallum and New Zealand's leading DJ Chris Cox. If it's anything like last year, it will go off."

Mr Maguire said another highlight of the festival was the AJ Hackett Bungy JumpStart competition, which gives talented young musicians from around the country the chance to gain exposure and help kick start their careers.

Open to anyone aged between 14 and 20, finalists will be selected from an initial audition round via DVD or web upload submissions, then invited to participate in a live performance in front of a judging panel and audience in Queenstown on 19 October.

Throughout the ASB JazzFest Queenstown, free daily performances will be held on a specially constructed stage on Queenstown's central Village Green, and free gigs will be held throughout the district at hotels, bars and restaurants, culminating in 'Jazz in the Vines' performances in Gibbston Valley on the final afternoon (Monday 27 October).

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