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The 2017 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues has been hailed a resounding success in a year that had many loyalists concerned by change.

The past few years have seen the WFoJB Board implement many necessary changes, all made to ensure the ongoing success of this Australia’s original and premier jazz festival.

But the challenge of evolution that has impacted the festival in recent times was all but a distant memory, as many thousands of fans packed festival venues and again filled the streets, providing a $2m boost to the city’s economy

Strategically positioned right on the doorstep of all official Festival venues, the Ford Street “Street Party” came to life with thousands of people soaking up the sunshine (which had been noticeably absent from the festival in recent years), and enjoying the hospitality of the many vendors on offer. The Ford Street venue quickly created a corridor of creativity and connection, where people, family and friends all came together to enjoy the festivities.

Kicking off with Friday night down at The Blues in Merriwa Park, the stunning outdoor venue hosted an equally stunning array of performances all weekend.   Australian icon Ian Moss and international Blues sensation Jon Cleary, had over 2000 people rocking in the jam-packed high-top marquee.

But if you were all about the jazz, headline act Christian Scott certainly did not disappoint. The internationally-acclaimed Grammy Award nominated trumpeter thrilled jazz fans with two stunning performances in the sold-out Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre.

Festival board chairman Paul Squires said the response from both the local and jazz and blues communities to the 2017 festival had been “extraordinary”.

“We have been through some challenging times, but to see the festival all come together so brilliantly was sensational,” he said.

“The feedback has so positive on all fronts. Our two new venues, Ford St. and Merriwa Park, both proved outstandingly successful, and the house-full sign was up at virtually every other venue throughout the whole weekend.

“Personally, and from the board’s point of view, we are so thankful to the Wangaratta community, which really got behind us and came out in their thousands,” Mr Squires said.

Adam Simmons, co-artistic director, said he and his team were thrilled with the public response to the overall program.

“It has been a fantastic weekend on all fronts, with the feedback from both artists and audiences being very positive. There was a great level of excitement throughout the entire festival, and as an artistic team, we are all thrilled with the response to the program.

“It was also wonderful to see the huge crowds enjoying the great music on the Wangaratta Motor Group free stage in Ford Street. It created a real festive buzz, with the proximity of all venues working an absolute treat,” he said.