The sun smiled on the thousands who turned up for a weekend of jazz

After last year’s 11th-hour cancellation due to Covid, Waiheke Jazz Festival 2021 returned with a bang over the Easter weekend with sell-out shows around the island.

With sanitisers at the ready, venues were packed full of gleeful audiences coming together to enjoy live music; made all the more meaningful as gigs worldwide are canned due to Covid.

The festival started with a high-energy Good Friday Groove at Rangihoua Estate with audiences dancing euphorically under the hot sun to music from White Chapel Jak, The Eastern, Radio Rebelde and the Gyspy Kings Tribute Band. Meanwhile, at Casita Miro there was Mexican-tinged jazz from the Mireya Ramos Trio.

One Night at Fillmore East sold out for two nights at Artworks Theatre with performances from Meredith Bean, Aaron Carpenter, Solomon Cole and Dave Alley.

A jazz sundowner was held indoors and outdoors on two stages at Wild Estate, with Chelsea Prastitti, JT and the Saxman, Cousin Alice, Hopetoun Brown and The Eastern.

And on Monday Batch Winery hosted the Jazz Long Lunch, featuring Nairobi Trio whose guitarist and singer John Quigley doubles as the festival organiser. After last year’s crushing cancellation due to Covid, John says the festival landscape has been transformed, with huge pent-up demand.•  Graham Hooper

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