Jazz & Blues Festival marks its 30th year

Over the years the Kiama Jazz & Blues Festival has evolved into a unique format that sees music literally being taken to the streets.

While it’s a far cry from the Festival’s early beginnings, some important elements remain the same.

phil_winterton_kjazz32“We made the decision in 2011 to move to a free concert format and it has gone from strength to strength since then,” says the Festival’s Music Director Ross Eggleton.

“Locals and visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a large variety of musicians in intimate venues around town.

“While it means we don’t get the big name performers, who charge big fees, we do attract quality musicians and make them accessible to a wide
audience.

“About half the musicians on this year’s program are long term festival favourites – there would be a riot if they weren’t on the bill.”

These include Don Hopkins, Paul Robert Burton, Andrew Toner and Hot Potato.

Over 100 acts applied to play at this year’s Festival, and it was Ross’ job to come up with a program to suit everyone.

“There is a bit of everything. From our purist beginnings we’ve evolved into a music festival with an emphasis on jazz and blues,” he says.

This is his last year as the Festival’s Music Director, having done the role for 14 years.

“This year, over three days, we have over 80 free gigs happening at over 30 venues, and it is all organised by volunteers.

“We couldn’t do it without the support of the venues and the Council,” he says.

“It brings a massive number of people to town, many of them return visits.

“Rather than being confined at a festival venue, they get to move around town and choose their own program.

“On the opening Friday night, there are fifteen gigs to choose from. All of them have free entry, so you can zigzag around the venues if you have the stamina.”

DIRECTOR’S PICK OF THE NEW
Of the new artists to perform at the Festival, Ross Eggleton suggests you look out for:

The Armondo Hurley Band
No less than Diana Ross has said of them, “The smooth and sophisticated style of Armondo’s unique voice will move your soul.”
A mix of jazz, soul and funk. See them at the Leagues Club from 2.30-5pm on Saturday.

Out of Abingdon
Shades of Bjork, Nina Simone and Grant Green.
Parkview Café 6-8pm Friday;
Minnamurra Café 12-2pm Saturday;
Kabari Bar 7-9pm Saturday;
Amaki Café 11-1pm Sunday.

Queen Porter Stomp
Dirty swamp jazz magic. Kiama Leagues, 5-7pm Sat

Simon Kinny-Lewis Band
One of the most soulful guitar players on the planet.
Kiama Bowlo 10-midnight Saturday and solo at Penny Whisters 2-4pm Sunday.

 

 

 

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