The name’s Bond – Jo Bond – and she has a licence to thrill.
You need that special touch when it comes to finding the right people for the biennial Tauranga Arts Festival.
Jo is the festival director and spends her time between events scouring the globe to fill the show schedule.
Getting top acts to Tauranga is a juggling act in itself.
In the last two years she has been to France, Beijing, Sydney, Scotland and Australia to seek out and employ talent for the big show.
“It is a great job, I love it.”
The show takes about two years to put together, with about 40 acts, spread over 10 days. There are singers and writers, circus acts, theatre and comedy. And there needs to be something for everyone, Jo says.
She sources talent from events like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Avignon Festival in the south of France, and the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Nothing makes the cut without her witnessing it first-hand.
The budget for the festival is determined by the amount of sponsorship they can find in the early stage of planning. Only 28 per cent of revenue comes from ticket sales. All the performers, their crews and their expenses are paid for by the Festival.
Flying the artists and their crews in from the other side of the world is not cheap and ticket sales alone would not allow that to happen. Tauranga would miss out.
So, while it is a great job, Jo says it is not without its stresses and the festival must at least break even. Thankfully support has been good enough that Jo can cherry pick some great entertainment.
The Tauranga Arts Festival is not really a place for new acts. The artists are often cutting edge and experimental but they have all proved themselves and earned their place.
One of this year’s main drawcards is international circus-cabaret LIMBO, which has been described as a group of “sexy daredevils”. It will be set-up in a mobile, 340-seat Spiegeltent called The Crystal Palace.
“That is the show that has broad appeal. Just real fun and fantastic skills with a live band. Extraordinarily talented performers.”
Jo says people really should set aside time to see as many performances as they can because they are high quality and only here briefly.
“Try and make the most of it. It is quite intense. You can just set that time aside and go for it. We like to encourage people to try something different.