The JazzFest blues


Queenstown JazzFest trustees will be biting their fingernails until the profit-and-loss figures are tallied from the Labour Weekend event. 

JazzFest is on a financial knife-edge, newly-released annual accounts reveal – and its auditor has a dire warning. 

“The continued trading of the trust with a growing negative equity is of concern,” auditor Angus Welsh records in his qualified opinion in September about the 2011 accounts. 

“Without the continued support of the trustees and the [ASB] bank, it calls for a positive initiative as to the future viability of the trust as a going concern,” Welsh warns. 

The trust posted a $22,000 loss from the 2010 JazzFest – following a $15,000 loss from the 2009 event. 

With negative equity totalling $46,000, as Welsh says, the trust is only staying afloat because of a $25,000 loan from former sponsor ASB Bank and another $10,000 borrowed from trustee Luke Baldock. 

Fellow JazzFest trustee Jan Maxwell admits: “We didn’t have a good year last year. 

“We’ve certainly tried to regroup this year in keeping our costs down.” 

While ASB pulled sponsorship for this year’s festival, Maxwell isn’t aware of any pressure to repay the $25,000 loan. 

“Not that I’m aware of, no,” she says. 

Maxwell doesn’t know whether this year’s festival – the 33rd – will turn a profit. 

“Not yet, no, we’re still doing all the figures and things – [although] we’re happy with how everything went,” she says. 

The trustees are determined JazzFest won’t fold, Maxwell says.