Covid-19 Alert

As of 18/2/21, Auckland is down to ALERT LEVEL 2 and the remainder of New Zealand is back to ALERT LEVEL 1.
Scan QR Codes & turn on Bluetooth | Save Lives | Be Kind

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Beyoncé Leads the 63rd Grammys Awards With 4 Wins


It was Beyoncé’s night at the Grammys yesterday. The singer won four awards last night and is now winner of the most Grammys ever. This is her 28th win (plus one for daughter Blue Ivy Carter) 

Taylor Swift picked up Best album, and Billie Eilish scored Record of the Year. 

The Black Lives Matter movement was honored with a performance by Lil Baby and a film about Beyoncé’s 'Black Parade'. Megan Thee Stallion was left speechless by her Best New Artist win. 

For performances, the Recording Academy served us DaBaby with some violins and Judge Judy clones , a seductive song from Silk Sonic and Mickey Guyton’s emotional debut Grammy performance. Lockdown queen Dua Lipa gave new dance moves, Taylor Swift brought us a 'woodsy' folky medleyand Harry Styles shook his butt in a feather boa.  Megan Thee Stallion proved she (still) is that bitch with a dream performance of 'Savage (Remix)" “Savage (Remix)” and we got 'WAP', the clean version.  See how your favorites fared with the full slate of winners below:

Record of the Year “Everything I Wanted,” Finneas O’Connell, producer; Rob Kinelski and Finneas O’Connell, engineers/mixers; John Greenham, mastering engineer (Billie Eilish) 

Song of the Year “I Can’t Breathe,” Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.) 

Best New Artist Megan Thee Stallion 

Best Pop Solo Performance “Watermelon Sugar,” Harry Styles 

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance “Rain on Me,” Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande 

Best Pop Vocal Album “Future Nostalgia,” Dua Lipa 

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album “American Standard,” James Taylor 

Best Dance Recording “10%,” Kaytranada featuring Kali Uchis 

Best Dance/Electronic Album “Bubba,” Kaytranada 

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album “Live at the Royal Albert Hall,” Snarky Puppy 

Best Rock Performance “Shameika,” Fiona Apple 

Best Metal Performance “Bum-Rush,” Body Count 

Best Rock Song “Stay High,” Brittany Howard, songwriter (Brittany Howard) 

Best Rock Album “The New Abnormal,” The Strokes 

Best Alternative Music Album “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” Fiona Apple 

Best R&B Performance “Black Parade,” Beyoncé 

Best Traditional R&B Performance “Anything For You,” Ledisi 

Best R&B Song “Better Than I Imagine,” Robert Glasper, Meshell Ndegeocello and Gabriella Wilson, songwriters (Robert Glasper featuring H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello) 

Best Progressive R&B Album “It Is What It Is,” Thundercat 

Best R&B Album “Bigger Love,” John Legend 

Best Rap Performance “Savage,” Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé 

Best Melodic Rap Performance “Lockdown,” Anderson .Paak 

Best Rap Song “Savage,” Beyoncé, Shawn Carter, Brittany Hazzard, Derrick Milano, Terius Nash, Megan Pete, Bobby Session Jr., Jordan Kyle Lanier Thorpe and Anthony White, songwriters (Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé) 

Best Rap Album “King’s Disease,” Nas Best Country Solo Performance “When My Amy Prays,” Vince Gill Best Country Duo/Group Performance “10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber 

Best Country Song “Crowded Table,” Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby and Lori McKenna, songwriters (The Highwomen) 

Best Country Album “Wildcard,” Miranda Lambert 

Best New Age Album “More Guitar Stories,” Jim “Kimo” West Best Improvised Jazz Solo “All Blues,” Chick Corea, soloist 

Best Jazz Vocal Album “Secrets Are the Best Stories,” Kurt Elling featuring Danilo Pérez 

Best Jazz Instrumental Album “Trilogy 2,” Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Brian Blade 

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album “Data Lords,” Maria Schneider Orchestra 

Best Latin Jazz Album “Four Questions,” Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Best Gospel Performance/Song “Movin’ On,” Darryl L. Howell, Jonathan Caleb McReynolds, Kortney Jamaal Pollard and Terrell Demetrius Wilson, songwriters (Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music) 

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song “There Was Jesus,” Casey Beathard, Jonathan Smith and Zach Williams, songwriters (Zach Williams and Dolly Parton) 

Best Gospel Album “Gospel According to PJ,” PJ Morton Best Contemporary Christian Music Album “Jesus Is King,” Kanye West 

Best Roots Gospel Album “Celebrating Fisk! (The 150th Anniversary Album),” Fisk Jubilee Singers 

Best Latin Pop or Urban Album “YHLQMDLG,” Bad Bunny 

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album “La Conquista Del Espacio,” Fito Paez 

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) “Un Canto Por Mexico, Vol. 1,” Natalia Lafourcade 

Best Tropical Latin Album “40,” Grupo Niche Best American Roots Performance “I Remember Everything,” John Prine Best American Roots Song “I Remember Everything,” Pat McLaughlin and John Prine, songwriters (John Prine) 

Best Americana Album “World on the Ground,” Sarah Jarosz 

Best Bluegrass Album “Home,” Billy Strings 

Best Traditional Blues Album “Rawer Than Raw,” Bobby Rush 

Best Contemporary Blues Album “Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?,” Fantastic Negrito 

Best Folk Album “All the Good Times,” Gillian Welch and David Rawlings 

Best Regional Roots Music Album “Atmosphere,” New Orleans Nightcrawlers 

Best Reggae Album “Got to Be Tough,” Toots and the Maytals Best Global Music Album “Twice as Tall,” Burna Boy 

Best Children’s Music Album “All the Ladies,” Joanie Leeds 

Best Spoken Word Album “Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth,” Rachel Maddow 

Best Comedy Album “Black Mitzvah,” Tiffany Haddish Best Musical Theater Album “Jagged Little Pill,” Original Broadway Cast 

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media “Jojo Rabbit,” Various Artists Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media “Joker,” Hildur Gudnadottir, composer 

Best Song Written For Visual Media “No Time to Die,” Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas Baird O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish) Best Instrumental Composition “Sputnik,” Maria Schneider, composer (Maria Schneider) 

Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella “Donna Lee,” John Beasley, arranger (John Beasley) 

Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals “He Won’t Hold You,” Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier featuring Rapsody) 

Best Recording Package “Vols. 11 & 12,” Doug Cunningham and Jason Noto, art directors (Desert Sessions) 

Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package “Ode to Joy,” Lawrence Azerrad and Jeff Tweedy, art directors (Wilco) 

Best Album Notes “Dead Man’s Pop,” Bob Mehr, album notes writer (The Replacements) 

Best Historical Album “It’s Such a Good Feeling: The Best of Mister Rogers,” Lee Lodyga and Cheryl Pawelski, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer (Mister Rogers) 

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical “Hyperspace,” Drew Brown, Julian Burg, Andrew Coleman, Paul Epworth, Shawn Everett, Serban Ghenea, David Greenbaum, John Hanes, Beck Hansen, Jaycen Joshua, Greg Kurstin, Mike Larson, Cole M.G.N., Alex Pasco and Matt Wiggins, engineers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer (Beck) 

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical Andrew Watt Best Remixed Recording “Roses (Imanbek Remix),” Imanbek Zeikenov, remixer (Saint Jhn) Best Engineered Album, Classical “Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13, ‘Babi Yar,’" David Frost and Charlie Post, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Riccardo Muti and Chicago Symphony Orchestra) 

Producer of the Year, Classical David Frost Best Orchestral Performance “Ives: Complete Symphonies,” Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic) Best Opera Recording “Gershwin: Porgy and Bess,” David Robertson, conductor; Frederick Ballentine, Angel Blue, Denyce Graves, Latonia Moore and Eric Owens; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; the Metropolitan Opera Chorus) 

Best Choral Performance “Danielpour: The Passion of Yeshua,” JoAnn Falletta, conductor; James K. Bass and Adam Luebke, chorus masters (James K. Bass, J’Nai Bridges, Timothy Fallon, Kenneth Overton, Hila Plitmann and Matthew Worth; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and UCLA Chamber Singers) 

Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance “Contemporary Voices,” Pacifica Quartet Best Classical Instrumental Solo “Theofanidis: Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra,” Richard O’Neill; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony) 

Best Classical Solo Vocal Album “Smyth: The Prison,” Sarah Brailey and Dashon Burton; James Blachly, conductor (Experiential Chorus; Experiential Orchestra) 

Best Classical Compendium “Thomas, M.T.: From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke,” Isabel Leonard; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Jack Vad, producer 

Best Contemporary Classical Composition “Rouse: Symphony No. 5,” Christopher Rouse, composer (Giancarlo Guerrero and Nashville Symphony) 

Best Music Video “Brown Skin Girl,” Beyoncé, Blue Ivy and WizKid 

Best Music Film “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,” Linda Ronstadt

Thursday, March 11, 2021

2021 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Jazz Nominees

The 63rd GRAMMY Awards are airing Sunday, March 14, 2021. And we have the nominees for this year's Jazz Category 

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

Best Improvised Jazz Solo
For an instrumental jazz solo performance. Two equal performers on one recording may be eligible as one entry. If the soloist listed appears on a recording billed to another artist, the latter's name is in parenthesis for identification. Singles or Tracks only.

  • GUINNEVERE
    Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, soloist
    Track from: Axiom
  • PACHAMAMA
    Regina Carter, soloist
    Track from: Ona (Thana Alexa)
  • CELIA
    Gerald Clayton, soloist
  • ALL BLUES
    Chick Corea, soloist
    Track from: Trilogy 2 (Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade) 
  • MOE HONK
    Joshua Redman, soloist
    Track from: RoundAgain (Redman Mehldau McBride Blade)

Thana Alexa

Best Jazz Vocal Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal jazz recordings.

  • ONA
    Thana Alexa
  • SECRETS ARE THE BEST STORIES
    Kurt Elling Featuring Danilo Pérez 
  • MODERN ANCESTORS
    Carmen Lundy 
  • HOLY ROOM: LIVE AT ALTE OPER
    Somi With Frankfurt Radio Big Band Conducted By John Beasley 
  • WHAT'S THE HURRY
    Kenny Washington

Ambrose Akinmusire

Best Jazz Instrumental Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new instrumental jazz recordings.

  • ON THE TENDER SPOT OF EVERY CALLOUSED MOMENT
    Ambrose Akinmusire
  • WAITING GAME
    Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science
  • HAPPENING: LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD
    Gerald Clayton 
  • TRILOGY 2
    Chick Corea, Christian McBride & Brian Blade 
  • ROUNDAGAIN
    Redman Mehldau McBride Blade

Gregg August

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new ensemble jazz recordings.

  • DIALOGUES ON RACE
    Gregg August 
  • MONK'ESTRA PLAYS JOHN BEASLEY
    John Beasley’s MONK’estra 
  • THE INTANGIBLE BETWEEN
    Orrin Evans And The Captain Black Big Band 
  • SONGS YOU LIKE A LOT
    John Hollenbeck With Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, Gary Versace And The Frankfurt Radio Big Band 
  • DATA LORDS
    Maria Schneider Orchestra

Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra 

Best Latin Jazz Album
For vocal or instrumental albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded material. The intent of this category is to recognize recordings that represent the blending of jazz with Latin, Iberian-American, Brazilian, and Argentinian tango music.

  • TRADICIONES
    Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra 
  • FOUR QUESTIONS
    Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra 
  • CITY OF DREAMS
    Chico Pinheiro 
  • VIENTO Y TIEMPO - LIVE AT BLUE NOTE TOKYO
    Gonzalo Rubalcaba & Aymée Nuviola 
  • TRANE'S DELIGHT
    Poncho Sanchez

Find out who is nominated in each of the 83 categories in the full nominees here


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Groove gets down at the Island Bay Festival

Dean and Groove FM provided the sounds at the Island Bay Festival today.  For once the weather gods smiled a sunny 23 degrees with light winds.  Several 1000 locals turned up to share the day of food, fun and entertainment, including the traditional Greek blessing of the fishing boats.  

The Island Bay Festival started in 1985 and is one of Wellington's longest-running festivals.  Showcasing the talent and diversity of the South Coast, this annual 2-day summer festival is held every February.

The festival continues tomorrow - check out what's happening here





Thursday, January 28, 2021

NZ Artists Release Open Letter To Music Industry


Last week's revelations of sexual harassment and exploitation in Aotearoa's music industry have resulted in a number of high profile sackings, including at Warner Music and CRS Management.  It has prompted a open letter calling for some much-needed significant change. 

The following, which has been published in a number of media outlets was written by Anna Coddington and signed by Bic Runga, Anika Moa, Lorde, Tami Neilson, Hollie Smith and Mel Parsons.  The letter below was originally published here.  

“Music is a powerful force, capable of moving us impressionable humans in all directions. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to make moving art without allowing yourself to be vulnerable and emotional sometimes. It is part of an artist’s job to feel deeply in all directions in order to create something worth listening to. 

People in the engine room of the music industry – studios, venues, festivals, any place where music is being made – are working in conditions where emotions may be high, hours may be long, green rooms may be small, and alcohol is often used as a social lubricant or a way to pass the time. These are the conditions of the workplace. 

To everyone working in the industry – you know the conditions. We’re all passionate about music and regularly in awe of the talent around us. But if the artist’s job is to feel deeply and be vulnerable enough to create moving music, yours must be to help them professionally and personally, without crossing boundaries and taking advantage of them. 

Right now is an opportunity to assess yourself honestly and reflect on how you conduct yourself in those environments. If you can’t work in those conditions while preserving the dignity of those around you, now is the time to either find another work environment that you can handle yourself in, or make use of the various resources and procedures being put in place by SoundCheck Aotearoa and other initiatives to educate yourself and change behaviours. This goes for everyone, industry-wide.

Men in the music industry have been operating in a safety-in-numbers scenario since forever. Young women, takatāpui, and other minorities stepping fresh into the music industry do not have that safety. Yes it’s a hard knocks career choice. Everyone needs to be ready to have their ego checked and confidence crushed, or the opposite – great success, fans at their feet, whatever. Either way artists are up for some head-messing times and need to learn to deal with that, hopefully with good support around them. What nobody should have to deal with ever – under any circumstance – is sexual harassment. 

We need better behaviour from those who hold power now, but ultimately we need more diversity in those positions of power so that the music industry as a whole can thrive and reap the benefits of different perspectives. Innovation in both business and creativity will follow – there is plenty of research to back this up. It requires active and conscious change, and the transfer of some power from the restricted group who hold it now to others who don’t look or think like them. We’ve been talking about this and failing to affect change for a very long time, but it can and must be done. 

• Learn about boundaries and consent. If you can’t operate within those boundaries don’t operate.

• Do not accept the transgression of those boundaries from anyone you work with. If you see or hear something don’t let it slide. 

• Check on people. If you suspect someone is being made to feel uncomfortable – ask them if they’re ok. 

• Do your best to be in the right, but always be ready to be wrong. If someone tells you a behaviour is not acceptable to them, no matter how small, don't get defensive – learn from it. 

• Diversify your workplace. If you need another person, actively seek candidates from different backgrounds, with different perspectives. 

• Speak to professionals who can help you achieve these goals – there are plenty. Do not rely on musicians and others in your own industry to teach you. That is unpaid labour and surprise – we aren’t psychologists or HR pros and probably don’t even have the tools you really need. 

• Don’t make public statements without taking private action.

Imagine a music industry without women, non-binary, rainbow community, differently-abled, Māori, and other ethnic minorities. Imagine if the artists demographically reflected the “industry”. No one wants that. It’s boring. You could say goodbye to most of the acts we’ve all been enjoying at festivals this summer for starters – the ones who have been helping EVERYONE in the industry recover the losses of last year. Without an interesting array of people the music suffers. Make it safe for them. Safety – it’s the very minimum every human being deserves.

The onus for change can’t sit with those of us who don’t hold that power. Everyone should want a better, safer, more productive industry. Artists are not here to help you make these changes. We don’t want to be writing open letters and talking to the media about the inappropriate behaviour of others. We want to be working on our music.”

 – Anna Coddington, Bic Runga, Anika Moa, Lorde, Tami Neilson, Hollie Smith and Mel Parsons

Groove supports this and condones sexual harassment of any kind.  We support all music workers and artists, no matter who they are.  If you are a music worker in Aotearoa and you need crisis or counselling support, the MusicHelps Wellbeing Service is available 24/7 online here, on the phone (toll free 0508MUSICHELPS) and in-person for free, fully funded by MusicHelps.

www.musichelps.org.nz/backline/wellbeing

www.soundcheckaotearoa.co.nz

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

This Just In: Dave Brubeck posthumously releases Time Outtakes

Featuring 7 never-before-heard tracks from the original 1959  'Time Out' recording sessions and 2 tunes that weren't on the original recording, this new release will have Brubeck fans buzzing.

“While researching books written to celebrate jazz legend Dave Brubeck's Centennial, a fascinating discovery was made; there were brilliant alternate takes for most of the tunes released on Time Out, the first jazz LP to sell over a million copies… These newly discovered recordings feature wonderful performances that are every bit as compelling as their famous counterparts!”
- Chris Brubeck

Includes previously unreleased takes of: 

1. Blue Rondo a la Turk
2. Strange Meadowlark

3. Take Five

4. Three To Get Ready

5. Cathy's Waltz

6. I'm In A Dancing Mood

7. Watusi Jam and 

8. Band Banter from the 1959 Recording Sessions

Read a review at All About Jazz

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Strang's Instant Coffee

Kiwis love their coffee. 
We're known for producing fantastic roasted beans. And we can  and claim we're the inventors of the Kiwi classic, the flat white. 

Wellington can claim some of the Best brews- Havana, Lafarge, People's, Mojo, etc. Taranaki has Ozone Coffee, produced at a roastery in Waiwhakaiho.

Here's Robert Harris, Bravia and a whole hose of others. And in in the 60's and 70's  Welly had the famous brand Faggs, in Cuba St. 
Coffee has been around a long t8me. Usually dominated by the big brands, especially in the instant market: Netscape, Bushels and International Roast. 

But our New Zealand has a long history of coffee related innovation in coffee drinking. David Strang, based in Invercargill, invented what could be the very first instant coffee in the world, applying for a patent for “Strang’s Patent Soluble Dry Coffee-powder” in 1890. His coffee was on the shelves in 1889, 12 years before Satori Kato is credited with inventing instant coffee in Chicago. 
Either way, Strang’s coffee was a hit in New Zealand because of its ease of preparation. It was described in the Otago Daily Times as an economical and flavoursome solution for coffee drinkers. The use of chicory powder,made from roasted and ground chicory root, to mix with the coffee may not be as appealing to today’s coffee drinkers, the Strang method of roasting doesn’t sound too dissimilar to our methods today. It was “roasted by a current of hot air which develops the flavour more thoroughly”.

SOUTHLAND TIMES, ISSUE 10201, 6 JULY 1889


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Dave Dobbyn to be knighted

The 2020 New Year's Honours list includes Musician Dave Dobbyn, Epidemeologist Professor Michael Baker and  Pofessor Juliet Gerrard, the prime minister's chief science adviser. 

Dobbyn, with a career spanning 40 years, has been knighted for his services to music. This is his official entry:
"David Joseph (Dave) Dobbyn, ONZM, for services to music. Dobbyn received a record number of music awards and Silver Scrolls for his work across nine studio albums over a 40-year career.

Dobbyn came to prominence in 1979 with Th'Dudes, who undertook a reunion tour in 2006, and in the 1980s with DD Smash, before going solo.

He performed free concerts for residents of Matata after the floods, spent time at community centres following the Christchurch earthquakes, and has an ongoing connection to the families of the Pike River Mine tragedy after writing This Love in honour of the 29 men who lost their lives. In 2017, he recorded his anthem Welcome Home - Nau Mai Ra in te reo Māori. He was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2013."

The list also includes public health academic Cynthia Kiro, businessman and former television presenter Ian Taylor, Māori academic William Temara, economist Suzanne Snively, Māori academic leader Sir Mason Durie, and social scientist Dame Mary Anne Salmond.

Tony Randerson and Lyn Stevens QCs were appointed Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Randerson has chaired two government reviews into resource management in New Zealand.  Stevens headed 2016's inquiry into Havelock North's water contamination incident.

You can see the full list here:

https://dpmc.govt.nz/publications/new-year-honours-list-2020




Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Xmas, Groovers!

Thank you, Groovers for tuning in to us all year. And what a year it's been. Who'd thought the phrase 'turn your mic on' would ever apply outside the studio?

Anyway, we wish everyone around the country and the world a great Christmas 🎄 No matter how you celebrate it, in your bubble,  in isolation or in a crowd. 

Stay strong, Kia kaha. Blessing you all! 

Don't forget you can find us under 'tune in radio' app and online at www.groovefm.co.nz 


Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Remember Whakaari today

At 2.11pm, it will be exactly one year since Whakaari/White Island erupted.

Of the 47 people on the island at the time, 22 were killed.

Nearly all were brought home eventually, except for two who remain missing: an Australian tourist Winona Langford and a loca tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman.

Today, at 2.11PM, we remember everyone involved and thank all the first responders and medical staff who helped. And we salute their bravery. 

Whakataka te hau ki te uru
Whakataka te hau ki te tonga
Kia mākinakina ki uta
Kia mātaratara ki tai
E hī ake ana te atakura
He tio, he huka, he hau hū
Tīhei mauri ora!





Monday, November 30, 2020

Taranaki Arts Festival Trust will not present WOMAD NZ 2021 but there may still be a reprieve!


Photo by Mckenzie Jennings-Gruar

Two conflicting messages were release today from the teams behind WOMAD 2020.   The current organisers of WOMAD New Zealand, The Taranaki Arts Festival (TAFT) said in a press release today that it had little choice but to pull out of the upcoming 2021 event.  They said the decision was 'gut wrenching' but given that it stood to lose millions of dollars and risked being declared bankrupt if Covid-19 disrupted the festival. 

In their own accompanying statement WOMAD UK, which oversees the event internationally, however said it was pushing on with plans for a New Zealand festival in March, drawing on Kiwi talent. 

For two decades sounds from around the world have rung around the Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth, attracting tens of thousands of people from around the country to the three-day WOMAD festival. 

The Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT) has until now held the contract to put on the event, but, sadly this wont happen next year.  At a press conference Chief executive Suzanne Porter said there had been a difference of opinion between TAFT and WOMAD UK about the risk Covid-19 posed to events in New Zealand. 

"Our government will close things down," she said, "as we've just seen recently in Auckland with just two days' notice.  We analysed what that financial risk was, modelled it right through.  We could carry that risk through until about February and in February we start going over the $2 million mark and I need to be very clear here - TAFT carries the loss, so we couldn't take that risk." 

My Baby at WOMAD 2019 - Photo Tim Gruar

Suzanne also said it would only take Auckland going into lockdown for WOMAD to fall over completely. If that occurred in the final week leading into the festival the charitable trust's exposure would have been closer to $3.5 million. "We would be committed to paying the artists. They'd be in town. We'd be committed to paying for the hotel rooms because they'd be in the hotel rooms. Our site would be set up...we wouldn't be able to honour our debts which is not the way TAFT works. We are not people who would simply not pay our debts and close up shop, it's just not kaupapa." 

Porter said the trust had looked at every avenue and even made a plea to the government for it to underwrite the event.  Howver that was not successful. 

An so, she said in the press release "that really is the essence of the decision. It has been gut-wrenching. TAFT has been here since the beginning, it took risks, it took losses for a number of years.  We were happy to take a rest year in 2021 and come back in 2022 when hopefully our borders were open at least to some countries and promote the full WOMAD experience again." 

Although TAFT has recently had to let two full-time staff go and reduce contractors' hours they were not sitting on their hands and are already planning a new international event for 2022. 

So what of WOMAD?  WOMAD UK director Chris Smith, however, thinks that New Zealand's risk to Covid is much less than the UK and the rest of the world.  "We have looked at what is happening in New Zealand and certainly we can see there are a lot of events that are still happening and selling very well and there's clearly a demand.   The situation in New Zealand is very positive regarding the pandemic and the advice we received was that there was good reason to carry on." 

Reb Fountain -WOMAD 2020 - Photo Tim Gruar

According to their press statement WOMAD UK was now working with multinational concert producer Live Nation on the New Zealand event. 

Porter told Radio New Zealand today that she believed that TAFT had lost its hosting rights indefinitely.  She suspected that Live Nation had swooped in and would call for a multi-year deal in return for carrying the festival. 

Smith, however, says WOMAD UK was open to working with TAFT again.  The press release he issued today said WOMAD New Zealand 2021 would be different and feature an almost exclusively Kiwi line-up. "There's a very rich range of artists from different cultures resident in New Zealand playing creatively and to a high standard and that's the model we've developed in Australia and we are looking to use in Spain and the UK. So we're very much moving during this difficult period to actually trying to keep the spirit of the event alive and to keep the spirit of cultural exchange alive, but mining the resources that are within the countries we are working in." 

"Not surprisingly," he continued, "the format for 2021 will be somewhat different but will present the usual diverse programme of artists with all or most of them based in New Zealand.  This is possible because of New Zealand’s richly diverse population and cultural heritage."  

New Zealand, he said, has had fantastic and enviable success in controlling the pandemic, and whilst this means it’s all but impossible for artists to attend from overseas it means a a local all Kiwi WOMAD festival could go ahead in its place - "with all the features we know and love."   "By promoting WOMAD in New Plymouth for another year, we will be able to offer employment opportunities to many of our longstanding crew and supporters in the toughest of years for our industry, and to continue to support local business with a festival that injects millions of dollars into the economy in a region we now call home." 

So, Groovers.  Watch this space!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Wellington Jazz Festival 2020 - Review


"Finally, after months of waiting, the rescheduled Wellington Jazz Festival kicked off on Wednesday 18 November. I was lucky enough to attend three flagship events while soaking up some of the awesome vibes from the ‘Coolest Little Capital’."  

Read on https://www.ambientlightblog.com/wellington-jazz-fest-wellington-nz-2020/