Monday, April 05, 2010

Tauranga and the National Jazz Festival

Finally we were in the right city at the right time for a music festival. We always seem to be a week too early or late for these kinds of things but for once we were near enough the right town so we headed over to Tauranga for the National Jazz Festival.

There were four days worth of concerts to choose from plus alot of free shows during the day. We are on a budget so we couldn't see the big name performers whose tickets were around $80 but we bought tickets to see a gospel choir called Jubilation and tickets to see the Youth Jazz Competition.

We aren't particularly religious people but we thought it would be something different and entertaining to see the gospel choir. It was entertaining to a certain degree I guess. The older white haired guy in the middle in the pic below was really enthusiastic about God and had alot of soul. He was fired up and fun to watch.

It seemed just about every song they sang was about Jordan or the river Jordan which provided me with enough material to make Gemma laugh for a few days as I did my best gospel singing impression of the choir while singing songs about myself.

There was also a guy in the choir who looked exactly like Kenny Rogers which was funny. He is in the pic below on the left.

Here is the church where the performance was held. We went back to the van afterwards and turned on Gemma's Ipod while we made dinner and drank some wine. Gemma then said the funniest thing - "If they could have just sang some more songs like this it would have been better." Nas was playing. Ha. Nas is a rapper for those that don't know. She then followed that up by telling me she thought it was gonna be more like the movie Sister Act. Haha. She cracks me up.

The next morning Gemma couldn't find her sunglasses. We turned the van inside out and then went to every shop in town that we'd been in the day and night before. Finally we made it back to the church on the other side of town. Someone had just turned them in five minutes before. They had been laying in the grass outside the church all the night before and most of that day. Only outside a church would that happen!

The youth jazz competition turned out to be a bust! We just figured it would be the best jazz garage bands or kids studying jazz who put together their own groups jamming for some recognition. Boy were we wrong. We walked into the auditorium and soon realized we were watching New Zealand school jazz bands. They all were required to play the same song and then three others of their choosing. Not exactly what we were hoping for.

After about the third band Gemma turns to me and says "They all sound the same to me." This was during the song that they were all required to play. Ha. She is a riot.

We treated ourselves to some Indian food and man was it good. Ever had tandoori mushrooms? They were fantastic. The pics below are actually from our second trip there the next evening. It was so good the first night I never stopped to take a picture.

Tandoori Mushrooms

The jazz festival also had stages set up throughout town with different bands rotating throughout the day. We made a picnic lunch and mostly relaxed.

There were some absolute crackers there at the festival including this bald guy below. He was loving it and we were loving watching him dance.

Then there was this guy wearing a ladies hat that was on some kind of crazy drugs. I'd never seen anyone dance quite like him, and especially not during a jazz performance.

Then there was this crazy lady in the green dress. I really shouldn't be making fun of these people after all they were just having a good time like the rest of us. But they definitely stood out in the crowd and gave us some good laughs.

Gemma and I have a long running joke about who will be the first to need an electronic scooter. She says me because I'm older and I'd put my life on her because of her three knee surgeries.

As I was posing for the pic above these lovely ladies came up and joined the pic.

Then their husbands. You might notice the woman to my right has her hand reaching down in the pic below. She was grabbing her t-shirt to flash her boobs to the camera but Gemma missed the pic. Luckily.

We sat down at a table outside the bars along the main street. There was a huge crowd sitting around drinking and listening to the bands playing along the street. Daytime drinking and good jazz. Life is good.

Gemma snapping away.

Here we are back at the Indian restaurant. We don't eat out alot but this place was seriously good.

Day three of the jazz fest took us to an recreation of the town village as it was in the 1800's. They had it set up as a Jazz Village with a bit of a New Orleans theme. It was nothing like Mardi Gras New Orleans unfortunately. It was more a bit like Conner Prarie for my Indiana readers.

Walking back from the Jazz Village we passed by our two favorite stores in New Zealand; The Warehouse which is a bit like Wal-mart and the Pak'nSave which is a discount grocier where we spend most of our money on food.

We had our van parked right by the river and some nice public toilets for the entire weekend for free. Its a wonder what a difference a good parking space will make to our lives these days! The sunsets were beautiful as always.

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