Welcome to Jazz Country

Over the past twenty-seven years our festival has evolved; as much by design as from necessity. With any change, there needs to be some balancing constancy, and ours is built over many years of great programming, dazzling performances, atmospheric venues, relaxed artists and friendly locals. There is a unique informality to performances that belies the scorching calibre of artistry. Yet in a world ...

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5 Things to do in Jazz country

Wangaratta sits at the heart of Victoria’s High Country, with easy access to world class nature, cycling, food & wine experiences which our region is renowned for. Make sure you take some time when you are in Jazz country to explore and discover some of this beautiful region. Here are some highlights: 1. Take a journey down Prosecco Road Since 2000, when Otto Dal Zotto planted the first Prosec ...

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Our Venues: The places to be

By Emma Jones. Our Jazz and Blues festival is best known for the caliber and volume of artists that grace the program each year. To attract such quality (and quantity) is a credit not only to the work of our Artistic Director, our event management and our board but also to the legacy of a ‘friendly festival’. Each year we hear from performers and fans alike how warmly welcome they feel and how rel ...

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A Message from the Creative Director

By Adrian Jackson, Creative Director, Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues. One of the questions I can expect each year when the program is announced is ‘what is the theme for this year’s festival?’ Generally, I avoid programming to a theme. My goal is always to assemble a balanced, varied and strong program, and I feel that programming to a theme restricts the options to choose from. Once this ...

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King George Gardens Stage Programme 2016

By Scott Solimo, Gardens Stage Artistic Director. Building the program for the new Gardens Stage for the 2016 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues has been a real honour. Tasked to create a compilation of acts that would excite a new generation of festival goers, embrace our loyal patrons and once again welcome home friends and family from in and around Wangaratta, was no easy feat. This year’s ...

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Lloyd Swanton – Ambon album launch at Wangaratta Jazz

Announcing the release of Ambon, a double cd by Lloyd Swanton, launched with a performance at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival. After a number of years in development, and several sold-out concerts, Lloyd Swanton’s intensely-moving, highly-acclaimed Ambon suite will be released as a double CD on Friday 30th October, on Bugle Records through Rocket. Lloyd’s uncle Stuart Swanton was one of some 1,200 me ...

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Jazz in Paris!

Words and images by Chris Cody Paris, city of lights, dreams, romance and artists has always fascinated. It’s not only a beautiful ancient town with amazing old buildings, and a fascinating history to tell on every corner, but is one of the great artistic capitals of the world, with hundreds of museums, art galleries, theatres, cinemas, exhibitions and events. You meet artists from all over the wo ...

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We get by with a lot of help from our Friends

The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz is more than a music festival. Twenty six years ago a group of enterprising local Jazz fans realised the potential economic and cultural value an annual music festival could bring to their beloved Wangaratta (Not to mention saving many trips to Melbourne and Sydney to satisfy their own love of live jazz music). The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz was formed and to this ...

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Spring into Jazz country with these 5 ‘Civilised’ Adventures

Excuse the ‘obvious’ title but as the winter thaw reveals blossoms bursting against our impossibly blue High Country skies I have rediscovered the spring in my step (Sorry, again) and thought I’d select a few of the more ‘adventurous’ activities you might like to add to your Jazz country itinerary over the festival weekend. Some people journey to Jazz country for three days of non-stop jazz & ...

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National Jazz Awards Finalists Announced

Australia’s most prestigious jazz competition, the National Jazz Awards have been a central feature of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues since it began in 1990. A different instrument is featured every year, and this year the spotlight turns to Bass, whether acoustic or electric. Ten outstanding jazz bassists, up to 35 years of age, have been invited to perform at this year’s festival, t ...

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Diddley Bows and more Diddley Bows!

It’s is amazing that one string and a baked bean can sings out to everyone that hears it. Strike the string, place your slide down and find those familiar notes and you’re away, playing the blues in a simple and pure form. Our Diddley Bow road trip around the Wangaratta Rural City’s district has so far visited 10 schools plus 2 community workshops and there are several more stops yet. So far we ha ...

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Bentonia Mississippi – Hard Times & Darker Blues

by CR Humphrey / Old Gray Mule Bentonia, MS is one of those places that just have a spooky vibe about it. The first time I rolled into town, it was in the middle of the night and I had some Jack Owens playing on my car radio…something about that minor-tuned guitar, Jack’s plaintive howling vocal, and the full moon peeking through the trees…it was more than just a little eerie. Bentonia, MS a ...

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How Diddley-difficult can a Diddley Bow be?

It is claimed that making a Diddley Bow and learning how to play it is not difficult. I’m fairly cautious when people claim something is not “difficult”, especially when that something involves making stuff and/or learning stuff; two disciplines which by definition of the term can cause me great effort and enduring hardship. So perhaps I need to put some context to the notion of “difficult”. It’s ...

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A warm welcome from our Community

If it takes a village to raise a child then surely it takes a community to host a music festival. For over twenty five years The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues has been a part of the Wangaratta community’s identity. Each Spring over the unofficial Melbourne Cup long weekend the town’s streets and venues swell with locals, expats and tourists who congregate to enjoy four days of world class ...

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Welcome a new festival

In my last blog I discussed the challenges of putting together a festival programme, particularly when that festival is in a stage of evolution. This year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues boasts an exceptional line up of jazz and blues artistst but we have also introduced some exciting ‘cross-over’ acts, as I refer to them. These performers will introduce a new audience to our festival bu ...

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Five ways to avoid sleep in Jazz country

Jack Kerouac inspired the Beat Generation with his dreamy prose and tales of friendship and adventure with an implied jazz back beat. It seems appropriate then to paraphrase from the magnificent On the Road when contemplating a long weekend in Jazz country, where, with so many interesting things to do, who’s got time to sleep? For over twenty five years the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues ha ...

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Artistic Director Adrian Jackson introduces this year’s programme

Every year brings a couple of familiar challenges. First, how to match the musical standard of last year’s festival ; and second, with so many accomplished and interesting bands submitting an application, deciding which ones can’t be included this time around. This year posed a further challenge: a new format with new spaces presented the opportunity to vary the programming approach, and perhaps m ...

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Festival Follows the City’s New Rhythm to Riverside

Things are getting exciting at Festival HQ, with the ‘brains trust’ behind the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, working on a double-time reboot of the city’s favourite weekend. New venues, new audiences; more accessible events and strong community participation, will set the tone for this year’s Festival. A reimagined and relocated Jazz Street & Laneway program will see a shift from Reid ...

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Thank you to everyone who contributed….

What a wonderful way to celebrate 25 glorious years! Four days of stunning performances and collaborations, streets alive with cool jazz and rousing blues, young musicians playing their hearts out on the Reid Street stages….we loved every minute. So thank you to everyone who helped make this year’sfestival a success. Thank you to all the dedicated jazz and blues fans, and those new to jazz, ...

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Our 25th Festival declared a hit!

The milestone 25th Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues drew to a close on Monday 3 November after four days and nights of stunning performances and collaborations. The city was transformed as the streets and venues came alive with the sounds of cool jazz and rousing blues in a program that featured outstanding international artists alongside the cream of Australia’s finest. Staged in venues th ...

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