Where I would rather be: at the Wellington Jazz Festival


St John’s Winter Village offers private dining in outdoor igloos on the waterfront. Photo / Supplied

Today is the last day of the Wellington Jazz Festival, and there is still a lot to do, with dozens of concerts.

Catch Cuban Sound at Southern Cross garden bar in Te Aro today from 4.30am. The group is Wellington-based first 100% Cuban quartet, and this free concert also features dance lessons and a party starting at 6 p.m.

In two performances today (the first at 12 p.m., the second at 1:30 p.m.), the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band will perform tracks from the 1955 album Count Basie Swings, Joe WIlliams Sings – performances are free at Soundings Theater at Te Papa.

At 8 p.m., award-winning bassist and composer Umar Zakaria’s Jazz Underground will perform at Moon pizzeria and bar in Newtown. Umar is a brilliant youngster on the New Zealand jazz scene, having performed throughout Europe, Asia and America, and having seen his compositions recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

AT Meow, the popular Te Aro concert hall, Polish pianist Michal Martyniuk will play from 9.15 a.m. He will be joined by special guests, including acclaimed New Zealand jazz musician Nathan Haines.

For a quieter festival experience, check out the Jazz of Art, a free exhibition of New Zealand and international art inspired by jazz at the Beautiful Coffee Blue, Bay of the Island.

In short, there are a lot of them, so don’t miss out. See jazzfestival.nz for more information.

Get off at artistic Wellington.  Photo / Nicola Edmonds
Get off at artistic Wellington. Photo / Nicola Edmonds

As for dining options, it might be the windy city, but Wellington refuses to let the cold get in the way of outdoor living this winter. Igloos have recently been popping up around the world – they are an instagrammable and socially distanced option when social distancing is required. But in Wellington, they just keep the cold.

At St John’s Winter Village – a pop-up village located directly opposite the waterfront heritage building that houses St John’s Bar & Eatery – diners can book a private transparent igloo with blankets, string lights, comfy chairs and heated cocktails – everyone for the nutty sherry with a torch meringue on top? For $ 59 per person, you will have access for two hours to an igloo, a pasture table, main courses, desserts and a drink. The Winter Village runs until July 25 and reservations, needless to say, are essential. stojohnsbar.co.nz/winter-village

For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newfinder.co.nz and newzealand.com

About John Crowder

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