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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Still striving for peak

The Advocate Newspaper - Online Edition

DESPITE record crowds and rave reviews, organisers of the Devonport Jazz Festival say the event is yet to reach its peak.

The fourth annual weekend festival culminated yesterday with full houses at two venues.

Attendance figures are yet to be finalised but promotions officer Sharon Webb said crowds had well exceeded the 5000 people mark recorded last year.

Ms Webb said nearly all of this year's 25 concerts had enjoyed capacity crowds.

Six of the event concerts charged admission, with 1500 people paying between $16 and $85 a ticket.

"And half these venues were booked out before the festival even started," she said.

The festival is also proving a boon for local businesses and accommodation providers, with Devonport's Gateway Inn almost fully booked over this year's festival weekend.

Eight local businesses benefited as event hosts and Ms Webb said each year the number of private venues involved had increased.

Ms Webb said the Devonport City Council was keen to expand the event but believed success now lay in controlling the growth and not going too big, too quickly.

"We want the festival to continue to grow and involve more people, but we are determined to do it slowly, because we're determined to maintain the high quality," she said.

Ms Webb said the emphasis would also remain on attracting the cream of the jazz world crop.

"We want the people of Devonport to be exposed to the best jazz musicians in the country," she said.

Ms Webb said the secret to this year's overwhelming success was deliberately aiming at audiences of all ages and tastes.

"Some people are really into getting a quality jazz experience, some people have wanted to come and have something to eat while listening to jazz, and some people have just come along to get a taste of what jazz is all about."


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