Ian Cresswell speaking at Jazz In Martinborough last year. PHOTO/SIMON MURCOTT
The man behind Jazz In Martinborough will not be forgotten at this year’s festival.
“This one’s for Crez.”
That is the motto organisers have given the 2017 festival, which will run from August 31 to September 3.
Ian Cresswell, who died suddenly on June 28, aged 83, founded the annual musical event in 2011.
The Spring festival has grown in size and popularity since then, and features three ticketed acts, as well as free music gigs spread throughout Martinborough’s cafes and restaurants.
Jazz In Martinborough co-founder Ted Preston said Mr Cresswell had been “extremely community minded and energetic”.
“He was entrepreneurial in a sense that he could bring things together and add value to somebody’s good idea.”
Mr Preston said the Martinborough stalwart was passionate about both sport and culture, and supported many causes.
Mr Cresswell was one of the key drivers behind saving the Martinborough Town Hall, built in 1912 and well known for its impeccable acoustics.
The heritage building held the inaugural jazz festival, which was prompted by Mr Cresswell’s desire to host Christchurch jazz student’s whose music school was red zoned following the 2011 earthquake.
The Martinborough Town Hall was soon after identified as earthquake prone, and since 2012 the proceeds from Jazz In Martinborough have been donated to the town hall project, which will see the building strengthened, refurbished and extended.
Mr Preston said Mr Cresswell would be sorely missed at this year’s Jazz in Martinborough — “and that’s why we’re going to have this one for Crez”.
Festival marketing manager Martin Lewis said Mr Cresswell was “instrumental behind the festival”, which was progressively attracting younger audiences.
“Ian was not only its producer . . . he was very much a personality in the community — very well-known and very well connected.
“And when it came to getting sponsors, he was the man, he was very persistent.”
Mr Lewis said it was unfortunate Mr Cresswell would not witness the festival’s return to the town hall, once renovations were complete.
He said Mr Cresswell was renowned for helping and supporting people “who had gone off the rails”.
“He did a lot of stuff that he didn’t take credit for.”
Since the town hall closure, the festival’s ticketed events had been held at the Village Cafe.
This year’s headlining acts are Nigel Patterson Quartet, Dancing and Drinking Society, and Sue Pugmire Jazz Combo, with tickets available from iticket.co.nz, Martinborough Wine Merchants, or i-SITE.
More than 25 free gigs will also be performed around the town’s bars and eateries during the four-day event.
South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier said commemorating Mr Cresswell through the festival was fitting.
“It was really Ian’s baby, even though everyone jumped behind it.”
She said Mr Cresswell was “a doer”, who rather than complaining got things done.
“He was not afraid to be on a different side than everybody else, and he’s always been very progressive and supportive of Martinborough and looking to the future.”