Festival year 2008
Pori Jazz 2008 festival was a success artistically as well as financially. Especially this year’s jazz repertoire was staggering.
Festival featured some frontline jazz musicians, including jazz-rock legends Return To Forever, that was brought back together by the group’s keyboard player Chick Corea. SF JAZZ Collective from San Francisco on the other hand was formed of leading 21st century jazz musicians. In the band played, to mention a few, Joe Lovano on the saxophone, Dave Douglas on the trumpet as well as piano player Renee Roses. The strong jazz input at the festival was completed with Metro Special Edition, lead by trumpetist Randy Brecker.
Popular music stars at this year’s festival were legendary Carlos Santana, Mary J. Blige who has been crowned the queen of hiphop-soul and Irish singer and songwriter Bob Geldof.
The festival was held 14.-20.7. Concert on Friday 18.7. at the Kirjurinluoto Arena was sold out in record breaking time, a week before the day of the concert. The biggest crowd-puller was Latin popular music legend Carlos Santana. 30 000 tickets were sold to the concert with representation from partners and VIP guests as well as press and festival performers – the total crowd at the concert was approximately 36 000. The atmosphere was electric at the jam-packed arena. Everything fell into place: amazing music, beautiful weather and a mighty audience. Despite the large audience, organization and services continued to run smoothly. For example, placement of service points further apart, made moving around the Arena easy.
Otava Factory at the Pori Brewery warehouse proved to be a good choice for a new venue. It continued the success of Cotton Club and Rauma Factory from previous years. Other late-night concert venues were LP43!, Pori Theatre, Ultra Music Nights, Klubi – Klubben & Garden as well as Cafe Jazz. Ultra Music Nights showed that more experimental jazz also has an audience with many concerts at the dusky Puuvilla being sold out.
Pori Jazz repertoire also included opera. ”Vierivä kivi” opera on the life work of Antti Ahlström, performed at the Ahlström Iron Works in Noormarkku received praise from the press.
Pori Jazz 2008 included 110 concerts, of which 70 were free of charge and 40 chargeable. Number of tickets sold, reached 66 000. In addition 98 000 listeners visited the free of charge concerts in and around the city. The total number of visitors was 164 000. Altogether 139 groups, made of 611 musicians performed at the festival. Out of 139 groups, 62 were from Finland the remaining 77 from abroad. Music played at 12 concert locations. Two thirds of the festival featured jazz, the rest consisting of other forms of popular music such as soul, blues, funk and hiphop. Part of the festival was also Pori Jazz Kids Festival. All of the Kids-concerts and workshops were free of charge. A total of 17 000 listeners at the 72 events, saw altogether 78 performers.
Build and up-keep of Pori Jazz Festival relies heavily on extensive voluntary work. During the festival, approximately 450 voluntary workers help the Pori Jazz organization in various jobs such as guiding tourists, giving out information, taking care of maintenance and transport. 700 volunteers from local clubs and societies took care of cleaning and maintained order as peace officers. Almost 450 member of the press of which a tenth were from abroad, accredited to the Pori Jazz festival. The Festival is also significant to Pori as during the festival over 15 milj. euros finds its way the city and surrounding towns.
Pori Jazz 2008 posters ”Jazz Improvisation 1 and 2”, were designed by visual artist Pauli Vuorisalo.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Sami Pitkämö was chosen as the Pori Jazz artist of the year.