Festival year 2012Planning for the Pori Jazz Festival 2012 (July 14 – 22) began in the fall of 2011 with the naming of a new artistic board. Board invitees included journalist and DJ, Mikkomatti Aro; musician and music journalist, Esa Kuloniemi; rapper and music producer, Karri “Paleface” Miettinen; Communications Manager of the Arts & Congress Centre Verkatehdas Oy, Janne Nieminen; as well as Vice President of Sibelius Academy and award winning jazz musician, Jari Perkiömäki. Markus Partanen (international and domestic jazz), Charles Gil (Ultra Music) and Bianca Morales (Pori Jazz Kids) continued as program producers.
Artist bookings were well underway by February, when Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter, Norah Jones was signed as Sunday’s headliner. Filling out the rest of the program proved more challenging, as the final program was not published until mid-April. Up-and-coming female artists formed the program’s core. In addition to Norah Jones, headliners included British newcomer Emeli Sandé, Janelle Monáe, Estelle, and Paloma Faith, who cancelled her gig just one week before her scheduled performance.
The year’s biggest challenge turned out to be nailing down a headliner for Saturday. Even by the end of June, Saturday’s program still listed the ominously familiar acronym, TBA (to be announced). We’ll let the details of the frantic search – with its fusillade of bids to a raft of big names -- remain a festival organizational secret. But finally, on June 29th the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat got the scoop that Paul Anka and his big jazz band would be performing at Pori Jazz on July 21st.
A notable addition to the 47th Pori Jazz Festival was the Cotton Salsa Factory, a Latin quarter built within the inner yard of Pori’s old cotton mill. The Cotton Salsa Factory hosted revelers for four nights of Cuban music, dance and food during the festival. And after a several-years hiatus, the Central Pori Church returned to the list of concert venues. In all, the venue map had 12 other stages playing music for nine days.
The program and its showcasing of rising female artists didn’t attract as large an audience as expected. Pori Jazz sold 48,000 tickets, about 2,000 fewer than budgeted. Also, the number of visitors didn’t meet expectations: instead of the targeted 150,000 visitors, Pori Jazz 2012 drew 140,000 visitors. Pori Jazz 2012 held a total of 126 concerts, of which 89 -- or 71 percent -- were free of charge. 812 individual artists formed 151 performance groups, out of which 110 were domestic.
The Pori Jazz Kids Festival, in its 8th year, once again broke a new attendance record: 29,500 visitors. The record audience got to enjoy beautiful weather and sunshine. On its final day, Pori Jazz Kids Festival was honored to host the most venerated couple of Finland: President Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio, who is originally from Pori.
In 2012, Pori Jazz produced four concerts in the new Helsinki Music Centre in Helsinki.
Katja Leppäkoski, long-serving Festival Director of the Pori Jazz Festival, was recruited to become the Managing Director of the Helsinki Music Centre in April, 2012. Leppäkoski simultaneously managed the Pori Jazz Festival on a part-time basis until the end of July. Juha Miikkulainen was hired as the new Managing Director of the Pori Jazz Festival, effective August 2012.
Jazz singer and composer Nina Mya (born 1989, maiden name Höynälä) from Tornio was named the Pori Jazz Artist of the Year. Graphic designer Jarmo Kovalainen designed the poster for the Pori Jazz Festival 2012.