ITE HCMC 2014

ITE HCMC 2014

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Merimbula Jazz Festival on Long Weekend

Merimbula Jazz Festival.

Musicians from across Australia are making their way to the NSW Sapphire Coast for the 32nd annual Merimbula Jazz Festival.

Reluctant to blow their own trumpets, organisers say this could be the biggest and best weekend of music since the Festival began livening up the Queen's Birthday weekend in the wake of a jam session back in 1980.

Next weekend's Festival (June 8-11) has attracted a capacity entry of 150 bands, with hundreds of musicians coming from almost every state. They'll be playing all styles of jazz, from trad, ragtime and swing, through the big bands to mainstream, modern and funk.

"We actually had to knock back about eight bands who wanted to be involved because we literally couldn't fit them into the program," says MJF committee spokesman, Paul Dion.

"Everyone wants to be here, which is just great. The Festival is not just about good music. People make friends here, players and fans alike, and they come back year after year to catch up. They tell us it's the best jazz festival in Australia - and obviously we're not going to argue!"

Merimbula Jazz Festival.

The Merimbula Jazz Festival has long been known as the 'Festival for Musicians', but the community is heavily involved, and perhaps even more so this year, because it's Merimbula's centenary year. Celebrations include a huge street parade, the famous and extremely popular Jazz Picnic Day, and a special 'Be-Bop and Beyond' late night jam session at the Lakeview Hotel which promises to be one of this year's highlights.

It's also the second year of the Jazz Quest, which is aimed at encouraging young (under 25) musicians. There are cash prizes totalling $1500 courtesy of the Lakeview Hotel, two full days recording at Pirate Studios, and a professional photo shoot by Mark Gray up for grabs.

Last year, the inaugural year of the Quest, it was only open to musicians from the local area. This year there is an open category as well, with entries from as far away as Queensland.

"When you look back at the greats in jazz history, people like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, you realise they did their best work in their twenties," Mr Dion says.

"So we're really keen to give these young players a chance to take their turn in the spotlight. Hopefully Jazz Quest will be the start of something really great for them."
Merimbula Jazz Festival.

All details on the Quest, and on other aspects of the Festival, are available on the website, http://www.merimbulajazz.org.au or by calling the Jazz Line on 0419 445 011.

Located on the far south coast of NSW, the Sapphire Coast is three hours' drive from Canberra via Cooma or a six/seven-hour drive from either Melbourne or Sydney. There are also regular daily flights from Melbourne or Sydney via REX Airlines into Merimbula, and regular inter-city bus services.

More details on accommodation around the Sapphire Coast region, as well as information on other activities in the area is available on the Sapphire Coast website (http://www.sapphirecoast.com.au) or by calling toll-free on 1800 150 457.

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