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 jazz and blues music and festival fun and it is the local community that plays such a significant role in making the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues one of the friendliest festivals around.
The festival is significant logistical undertaking, servicing and accommodating up to 25,000 visitors enjoying the festivities and live music at multiple venues played across four days. This year’s festival sees the public space or ‘festival hub’ move to the Riverside precinct where free entertainment and activities will be enjoyed on the banks of the Ovens River. The new Hume Bank Garden stage will provide a (fresh) open-air venue in the beautiful King George Gardens and the whole town will transform for four magic days when venues big and small come alive with the sounds of Jazz and blues.
The Festival is a time when the locals put out the welcome mat to visitors. In the case of accommodation, this is meant quite literally. The Home Host Programme has been running successfully for many years, offering visitors to Wangaratta an alternative to traditional accommodation and providing the opportunity to ‘live like a local’. Many great friendships have been formed through the programme that treats visitors quite literally as a guest in a home. If you are interested in booking a room at a local home, call the Wangaratta Visitor Centre on 1800 801 065.
Another group of community minded folk are the volunteers. Each year around 300 people give back to the community their time to help with a range of tasks from the buses to the box office. Supported by our community minded sponsors Brown Brothers and the Hume Bank, the volunteer programme ensures festival goers are treated to some great High Country hospitality. Matter of fact, it’s not a bad way to experience the festival so why not register and get involved!
And don’t forget to thank a volunteer when you’re here…without them the festival would simply not happen.
Our businesses too are great supporters of the festival, many embracing the Jazz and Blues theme for the weekend. Check out our Local’s Page on Facebook to find out some Local Secrets.
So spare a thought for all these great people as you stroll our friendly streets this year, comforted in the knowledge our community welcomes you to Jazz country.