Pori Jazz is one the pioneering festivals in Finland. The daring idea of organizing a jazz festival was born among brave jazz enthusiasts and musicians during the 1960's, and the first Pori Jazz took place in July 1966. The beginnings were humble, but the festival soon started to grow bigger year by year.
Pori Jazz is one of the most well-known and beloved summer events in Finland. It gathers crowds of 120,000 to 160,000 people every year for music from across the globe. International artists from various genres of music and entertainment perform in both permanent and temporary venues all over the city. Many of the venues are open during the day and run into the early hours.
My first Pori Jazz as Venue Manager for “The Cotton Club” was in 1992 and I worked with the Festival for 5 years thereafter. This temporary venue was constructed in the old textile factory and all the décor / toilets / green room and stages were brought into create this venue experience. My role included the management of the venue dressing in the 2 weeks leading up to the first performance and the subsequent management of the venue / concert goers during the 4 day programme and my venue. With two stages and round the clock performances, I made sure the concert goers had a seamless experience from the moment they entered the club with food / alcohol / first aid / band experience and all that goes in between. My fluency in Finnish and English was probably one of my biggest assets in this role especially given the calibre of artist that performs at this event.
Artist management during Pori Jazz consisted of reading and implementing all rider requests, designing and staffing the Green Rooms for the artists and managing their time scheduling in the venue on the nights they performed. Liaising in both English and Finnish was a major advantage especially as most performers were from the States. Smoothing the waters and giving the artists confidence in the venue (remembering that most things were of a temporary nature) guaranteed me the contract each year as one of the favourite venue managers.
Artists who I worked with included: Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland (The Police), Bjork, Little Richard, Herbie Hancock, Albert King Blues Band, Earth, Wind and Fire, Black Rock, Coalition Orchestra, Mendengo Jones R & B Band, Manhatten Transfer, De-funct, Mumbo Jumbo, Black Note, Spirit of Life Ensemble, Mingus Big Band to mention but a few.