Festival year 2018
The main talking point regarding the Pori Jazz 2018 was Jazz Street – or more likely the lack of it. In spring 2018 Pori Jazz announced that the admission free festival area (previously known as Jazz Street) would be moved from the Eteläranta street by the river Kokemäenjoki to the opposite bank of the river into the Kirjurinluoto park area. This new festival area located nearby the main concert area was named Jazz Park. Replacing the iconic Jazz Street with a new area naturally aroused strong resistance and before the festival the local audience was longing for the return of the Jazz Street. On the other hand, for several years before the change the audience had been giving negative feedback on the Jazz Street as the area wasn’t up for updates due to municipal engineering and planning. However, the new Jazz Park gained positive feedback especially from audience from other areas in Finland and especially from Finnish jazz musicians who gained more visibility as the new area offered more opportunities to elaborate Finnish jazz scene.
Admission free concerts were held both at the many venues of the Jazz Park and also at the legendary Lokki Stage. The festival was held in exceptionally warm weather, as the temperature in Pori was over 30 degrees of Celsius for several days in a row. During the main concert days, the long heat wave was broken as low pressure weather brought in much needed rains causing the ticket sales at the gates to take a small decrease in numbers. The three main concerts were attended by 58 000 people and the total admission of the festival was 343 302. The Ted Curson Award went to pianist-harpist Iro Haarla and bassist Kaisa Mäensivu was awarded as the rising talent.