Home Street musicians The jazz festival returns with a new coordinator

The jazz festival returns with a new coordinator

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Deirdre McNulty, the new Events Coordinator of the Harbor Street Jazz and Blues Festival in Oamaru, is thrilled to add a new string to her bow.

Ms McNulty, a familiar voice around town as the lead singer of Dee May and the Saints, said she believed her experience in a band would help organize the 2023 festival over the anniversary weekend of Otago, from March 17 to 19.

She succeeds Paula Gray.

“It’s a big learning curve, going from the performance side to the business side, so there will be a lot for me to learn, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

The role was a paid position, working with a “really good committee”, she said.

“I felt like I was qualified when it came to the demands of the band – the band setups, the backline, what they need for the sound, things like that. So I think I’ve a good experience in this field, having been an interpreter myself for several years.”

She was excited for a new challenge and “delighted” that the 2023 festival is continuing after the forced cancellations of the 2020 and 2022 events due to Covid.

“We’re all thrilled. We’ve had a huge response from musicians, local and across the country, to attend next year’s festival,” Ms McNulty said.

“People are… looking forward to having fun, listening to good music, with a wonderful backdrop of Harbor St and surrounding areas.”

The organizing committee called for artists to express their interest, worked on funding applications and liaised with venues, she said.

While the event focused on Harbor St, it also spilled over to Lower Thames St with buskers and performances in local cafes and bars.

“There is a very good atmosphere – [and] exciting and fantastic musicians.”

A fundraiser for the event was being held next Saturday on the ground floor of Harbor St’s Grainstore Gallery.

Ms. McNulty’s band, Johnny and the Cashtones, and the Saggy Britches Band will perform from 7 p.m.

There will also be a bar, food trucks and Waitaki District Councilor Jim Hopkins will be auctioning off items donated by local businesses.

A request had also been made to close the road to traffic, she said.

“It will be a party atmosphere.”

Tickets for next weekend’s fundraiser were $20 and are available at Rose’s General Store or Oamaru Farmers’ Market tomorrow.

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