Tauranga Jazz Festival director Arne Hermann is leaving town and not renewing his contract with the Jazz Society.
Whether he jumped or was pushed remains unclear.
Arne Hermann has decided against re-applying for his position as Tauranga Jazz festival director.
Jazz society president Darryl Haigh.
Jazz Society president Darryl Haigh says Arne was told the position was going to be advertised and he was given the opportunity to throw his hat in the ring.
“We decided to advertise the position because it had been a roll-over situation before, and we are trying to make sure that everything is done in a business-like manner. It was advertised. He was invited, if he so chose, to throw his hat in the ring.
“He indicated at that stage he wasn’t sure what he was doing, but has since indicated that he would be looking elsewhere.”
This year’s 50th National Jazz Festival was the second consecutive loss-making festival in a row, prompting Darryl to say afterwards that the Jazz Society will no longer be seeking expensive overseas acts as drawcards for the festival.
“When we had the second loss we indicated we were just going to draw a line in the sand because we couldn’t continue in that vein two years in a row. It didn’t do our image any good, nor its supporters and the Tauranga Jazz Society. It needed to have a change of direction.
“It was fairly clear that some of the programming had not suited the jazz society members or the Tauranga people, and if you don’t have that appeal and you don’t do anything about it, then you just deserve to keep on going down.
“So we decided that we would change it. And if you’re not having a big extravaganza style of thing where costs are very high to even attend the concerts, then that makes it more amenable for the public.”
New Zealand and Bay of Plenty have the musical talent to give the committee the confidence to put on exciting jazz festivals in the future, says Darryl.
Future festivals will also be organised so each concert can be attended.
“I think that was cause for embarrassment when we had on opening night concert and another one started at a time before the other one had finished,” says Darryl. “Those sorts of things need to be really looked at, which we would do and have a little bit more planning about it.”
The grass roots approach also means concert tickets would be about half the price they have been in the past, while jazz competitions will be ongoing.
“Those sorts of things are part and parcel of the excitement of the jazz festival,” says Darryl.
“Seeing some of those competitions and their youth and professionalism just blows your mind away.”
Some of the jazz musicians from the first festivals are still playing and the festival also presents young musicians with an opportunity to witness the experience and knowledge of the older musicians, says Darryl.
“At this stage we have some things in mind, some things tentatively planned and the AGM of the jazz society takes place in August. And they may or may not have the same sort of personnel or they may add to it. We will set in place things so it doesn’t come from behind the eight ball.”
Darryl is amazed at the support the committee has received from people all over the country following this year’s Easter festival.
He took over as caretaker president earlier this year when the previous president departed for Australia. He’s been asked to stand again at the AGM.
Arne did not reply to messages.