AN annual jazz festival celebrated its 20th anniversary in Christchurch at the weekend.

Stompin’ on the Quomps entertained just a few eager music fans in 1994, but on Saturday, at the bandstand on Christchurch Quay, thousands of people showed up to listen to an array of acts and enjoy a feast of family entertainment.

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Organiser Adrian Dwyer said the event usually draws in around 5,000 people and was hoping for a similar number this year.

“We have got everything from a Latin band to a big band to a blues band. It is a big stretch of the genre,” he added.

“The thing I hear most is that people don’t like jazz but they love Stompin’. I get people telling me they move their holiday around Stompin’ and last year I met one person who said he moved to Christchurch because of Stompin’ on the Quomps.

“People just love it.”

Tourists and residents alike sat in the sunshine, having picnics and children jumped on the bouncy castle and played games – all to the sound of the rhythmic tones emanating from loud speakers across the quay.

Taverners Big Band, the only act to have played at each festival since its inception, closed the day’s performances, which included entertainment between the jazz shows from Swish of the Curtain Theatre Group and Highcliffe Charity Players.

Spectator John Bolton had travelled down from London especially to attend the event and said he has enjoyed visiting on a number of occasions in the past.

“I am not really a big fan of jazz music usually.

“But this is great,” he said.

“It’s a lovely place to come and we are going to make a real day of it,” added John.