Media Release: Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues Welcomes Support for Creative Arts

WPACC Theatre

The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues welcomes Sunday’s announcement by Minister Martin Foley of a $16.8 million Victorian Government package of support focused on the small to medium and independent creative sector.

This includes a new $13 million Strategic Investment Package to assist non-government, multi-year funded creative organisations, including Wangaratta Festival of Jazz to respond to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues Chair Dave Fuller said all Federal and State Government support is both necessary and welcomed. As part of this funding it was today confirmed that the Festival will receive $35,023 which is a valued contribution in an environment in which the traditional business sponsorship is likely to be much reduced due to the COVID-19 economic downturn.

“The Creative Arts Sector has been decimated as a result of COVID-19 and we are constantly hearing first-hand stories of the devastation this is causing to so many individuals and their families,” said Mr Fuller.

“The impact on the Creative Arts sector was immediate and broad, impacting performers, artists, creatives, technical and road crew, music promoters, producers and venues alike.

“We expect this new package will provide much needed support to many of those within the Creative Arts sector who are in real need,” he said.

Mr Fuller said the Festival has engaged a strong artistic team in the lead up to the 30th Anniversary Festival which will be a celebration of Australian talent.

“We have diverse experience and talent in both jazz and blues through our Artistic Co-Directors team of Zoe Hauptmann, Scott Solimo and Eugene Ball.

“Early in the planning stages our Board decided on a theme of celebrating and supporting Australian talent for the 30thAnniversary Festival and this Australian focus is now more important than ever.

“This celebration of Australian home-grown talent recognises that, over the course of our history, Wangaratta has nurtured and supported Australian talent across jazz and blues, and has been at the forefront in showcasing both emerging and established artists, many of whom are now well-recognised on the international scene.”

Mr Fuller said with the constantly changing COVID-19 environment, planning has had to be flexible and to include several contingencies.

“We are planning to deliver a live Festival on Friday 30 October through to Sunday 1 November and are hopeful the COVID-19 environment will allow this to proceed as Festivals are particularly important to support artists and others who are struggling at this time.

“Contingency plans may include an online delivery component and we are looking forward to celebrating our 30thAnniversary milestone with the local community and with audiences who travel from within Victoria and from interstate each year.

Mr Fuller said that in the short term the Festival is celebrating International Jazz Day this week through a special performance by acclaimed Melbourne based guitarist, Stephen Magnusson, and trumpeter, Eugene Ball. This will be accessible at www.wangarattajazz.com from Thursday.

Early bird tickets will go on sale in June pending the COVID-19 situation at that time.