The National Jazz Festival looks set to return to profitable basics following a second major loss for the Easter weekend event.
The 2011 National Jazz Festival lost about $100,000 while Jazz Society president David Haig says this year’s losses are still being tallied it has been confirmed the $1.5million event failed to break even.
“We had indications prior to Easter that it was very slow in some quarters with regard to ticket sales,” says David.
David says the total loss will not be known until the end of the week.
David took over as Jazz Society president on January 1 after the previous president took up overseas employment.
“I was on the committee, and part of it was already in place, so what we did on the first meeting Tuesday was to say things need to change,” says David.
“I spoke on the basis of retaining the National Jazz Festival, but it will be very much back to local talent from New Zealand and as far as international, it will probably only extend to Australia.
“That seems to be the sort of message I have had for a couple of years in the jazz scene that makes sense to me.”
David says organisers “still had to go for it” and make the 50th anniversary festival something special.
“What didn’t come off was some of the music that was rejected, and people just voted by saying I’m not going to that concert,” says David.
“Everything else was going for it, the weather was fine, we had big crowds around for other functions as well in Tauranga. If we were going to pick up people they would have heard what was playing and we would have done so.”
David says the change in direction means other changes to the festival, but they are yet to be decided.
“We have had tentative discussions and we have put some things in place, but the fine lines haven’t been advised as to personnel.
“There will obviously be changes to the way any director would take on the new programme because it would be different - absolutely different.
“There wouldn’t be the same entrepreneurial requirement to be searching the world, UK, USA and wherever, because we will get back to that basics. The talent is here, the variety is here and that’s what people want.”
The Jazz Society committee is working with jazz festival organiser Arne Herrman to get all outstanding accounts from suppliers.
“Our immediate project is to see how we can come out of this without too many people being disadvantaged,” says David.
“It is going to be a slow methodical thing contacting the people, who have not been paid. If you pay people straight away and you haven’t got all the bills in, we don’t know exactly what we have got. It would be difficult to claw back some of the money if you have to treat everybody the same across the board.
David says the overseas acts have already been paid as part of their contract.
Although the Jazz Society’s reserves from previous financially successful festivals now been used, David says the Jazz Festival will continue.
“We need everyone need to know it’s going to be an ongoing thing. Long before it took a different tangent it had been going, and it will continue to go. It got to 50 and didn’t go into a retirement village.
“There will be a 51, 52 and because the members will have the support behind to make sure it happens.
“I must say over the weekend and during the week I have had phone calls of support from members. It was heartening to have calls from various people saying ‘all you have to do is sing out and I will be there’.
“That’s what the society is about. We draw and line in the sand and we get back to the basics of what a jazz society is about.
“I’m aware that the committee has had to rethink things and that’s a good thing, because sometimes you get to a stage where you think you are on track.
“You can go off and think that was wonderful, that it was successful in various ways, but if it’s not financially, then it’s not successful.”