Garden venue a winner

01:45, Jan 10 2013
washbourn jazz festival
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Ceroc dancers Jo Hatton and Bruce Bell, left, and John Young and Kaye Eden.

Even the flightless birds were singing the praises of Washbourn Gardens when the Woollaston Jazz & Blues Nelson Festival came to Richmond on Saturday.

Jane Bayley said her harmonising trio of singers, the Flightless Birds of New Zealand, really appreciated the chance to don their sparkly costumes and accompany Nelson jazz group Out on Bail for the afternoon.

"I'm very stoked," said Jane, who was dressed as a takahe in blue sequins.

Deanne Kilpatrick chose to dress as a kiwi in red, and Stella Kennedy was kakapo-themed in glittery green.

Festival organiser Liam Ryan said the venue was a key part of the 22nd annual festival's success.

"Everybody's been talking about how it's so leafy and the crowds [and players] are so close together," he said.


Around 20,000 attended the 45-event programme, which ran from New Year's Day until January 6.

"The weather's been on our side all through this festival."

Liam said the Nelson Jazz Club appreciated the support it had received in the form of $5 entry donations as the festival was not cheap to put on.

He estimated the Washbourn Gardens event alone cost between $12,000 and $16,000 to run, and said any left over profit would go towards community events, the Nelson Youth Jazz Competition and jazz workshops for some of the Nelson region's six high school big bands.

As the jazz festival evolved, Liam thought the volunteer-run event was moving away from relying on corporate sponsorship and becoming more about community involvement.

"I'm really into keeping it real."

Nelson mother Vairi Hikuroa spent the day relaxing near the pavilion with her 2-year-old daughter, Sadie.

She said for her family, the jazz festival was about recovering from the Interislander Summer Festival's first racing meet on Friday, describing the gardens as a "good spot for the kids".

Richmond Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Marty Price, who started the job in November, was taking the opportunity to have a break with 3-year-old twins Finn and Kya and their sister Ella, 7.

"It's quite relaxing, really," he said.

Having a more energetic afternoon were Nelson-based ceroc dancers Danielle Gelbart and Jon Wahlberg who strutted their stuff on the dance floor.

"A day like today in the sunshine, with good music, good people and good dancing is just great," said Danielle.

She said it was a wonderful opportunity to show off what she and Jon could do.