Jazz hits the positive notes

PARADE TIME: Gloria Cross, Shirley Rixon, mayor Kristy McBain, Louise Yeoman, Alan Moyse, Joyce McGill, Vicki Bond and Rick van der Bom.
PARADE TIME: Gloria Cross, Shirley Rixon, mayor Kristy McBain, Louise Yeoman, Alan Moyse, Joyce McGill, Vicki Bond and Rick van der Bom.

Amid great weather the 38th Merimbula Jazz Festival brought out the crowds on Saturday to enjoy the parade and music around the town.

President of the festival committee Kevin Walsh said he had received positive feedback including a note from some first-time festival goers who said they would be visiting Merimbula again.

For jazz lovers there were nearly 95 bands comprising 600 musicians with everything from solo pianists to 20-strong big bands covering many styles of jazz. The festival started on Friday evening and concluded with the Jazz Hatters Party which packed the Merimbula RSL Club function room.

We estimate the festival is worth around $2m to the town during what is normally a very quiet time.

Kevin Walsh Merimbula Jazz Festival president

Mr Walsh said he had received good feedback from the venues “all of which were well attended”.

On Friday night there was standing room only as the funky Brass Knuckle Band filled the Lakeview Lounge to capacity while on Saturday the ever-popular big bands saw big crowds in Club Sapphire and Merimbula RSL function rooms. Festival goers were also entertained by the Canberra Swing Katz dance group who joined in at several venues, top part in the parade and also held a swing dancing workshop on Sunday morning. 

Saturday night was a late one as the Jazz Quest went late into the night.

On Sunday morning the ecumenical service was held at St Joseph’s Catholic Church with music provided by Rhythm Syndicate and Sapphire Coast vocal ensemble Spirit Allegro.

“It was a great festival and the music was outstanding,” Mr Walsh said.

Speaking after the Saturday parade, mayor Kristy McBain welcomed everyone particularly the visitors.

“Don’t underestimate the value you bring into this community. As a town we really appreciate you spending your dollars with us,” Cr McBain told festival visitors.

“I think it is a testament to the jazz festival committee that they have been able to change and we’re seeing younger and younger people,” Cr McBain added.

In a reference to the sunny weather Cr McBain said to laughter from the crowd: “We don’t have to pray in Merimbula we just flick on a switch when we know there’s something important on.”

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