This conversation is me chatting with the Artistic Director of the NZ Festival and Wellington Jazz Festival, Shelagh Magadza.
I hadn’t met Shelagh until she came around for a chat following my invitation. I wanted to help promote and plug the upcoming Jazz Festival but also to get a bit of her story too, to help people to understand what’s required in that sort of role – the passion, but also the workload. We talked a lot about next week’s Festival line-up, which is pretty stellar. And the previous festivals, Shelagh and her team have essentially rebuilt a once-broken Wellington Jazz Festival. They’ve taken it under their wing, they also run the International Arts Festival (every two years in Wellington, Feb/March). In recent years the Jazz Festival has been host to some living legends of jazz: Wayne Shorter, Cassandra Wilson, Dee Bridgewater…and this year add Bill Frisell, Dianne Reeves and Dave Weckl, among many others, to that list.
I also wanted to talk to Shelagh because I’ve enjoyed watching her introduce shows at the recent festivals, it’s clear there’s passion and interest and energy there. She believes in the arts, believes in the acts she’s endorsing.
So I hope you enjoy finding out a bit more about the festival, and the idea of running a festival – and the woman behind it, in my conversation with Shelagh Magadza.
You’ll also get to hear snippets of music from many of these year’s Festival guests, hopefully it helps to get you in the mood, to make choices around what you want to see and to give a further shape and sound to our conversation.
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