The Castlemaine Jazz Festival AGM

Will be held at 3.00pm on Sunday 9th August. Should you wish to attend, wish to register as a Member of the Association, or wish to put your hand up as a Volunteer for the 2016 Festival, you would be most welcome…

The following invite has already been sent to the mailing list of the Castlemaine Jam Sessions

The Castlemaine Jazz Festival annual general meeting will be held on Sunday 9 August at 3pm.

The venue is the Cumberland Hotel, cnr Barker and Lyttleton Streets.

One of the agenda items will be the election of an organising committee for the 2016 CJF.

Anyone with an interest in jazz is welcome to attend — and perhaps become a member of the CJF. There’s no membership fee and no obligation to take on any roles. However, those who would like to volunteer will be most welcome.

* For those who did volunteer at this year’s hugely successful event, a ‘thank you’ gathering will be held in the Cumberland at 1pm on the same day. Drinks and snacks provided.


  1. I would like to suggest, with great respect, that the Committee considers moving the festival to another weekend, preferably not a long weekend. I think, along with many others, that it is a great shame that the festival clashes with Merimbula and it detracts from both festivals. In addition, the long weekend time slot clashes for with many other activities and I wonder whether there is a way in which the festival could finish on the Sunday afternoon (as the Grampians festival does) so as not to take up those all too few long weekends.
    I don’t want these comments to be detract in any way from my admiration and gratitude to the Committee and volunteers for all the time, effort and skill they put into organising the festival.


    1. Marion

      I have picked up your comments regarding the Festival from the Jammers Newsletter.

      This has been raised by a number of people, and I comment as follows

      Is the The Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend accessible for musicians?: There are three other Jazz Festivals on this weekend: Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Merimbula, and Mornington Peninsula Jazz Festival. One band played at Mornington, and then at CJF; and another band played at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival before coming up to Castlemaine. Whilst it might appear that the Festivals “compete” with one another, both the MIJF and Mornington have very different pricing structures (e.g. much more expensive) and our perception is that they appeal to a different audience. CJF is a community focused festival, aiming to include all musicians, whereas the MIJF and MPJF are more elitist, aiming to put on the best international and national acts. I am not sure about MPJF, but the MIJF engaged 325 musicians this year – we registered 285 musicians, so we are clearly drawing from a different pool!

      Merimbula is somewhat different. One of the reasons for setting up the CJF was the dissatisfaction of musicians with the travel distance to Merimbula. This has been compounded by Merimbula moving to a smaller structure, thereby excluding a lot of bands. We had one of the original bands that has played at every Merimbula Festival (21 years I think) actually drive through Merimbula to get to Castlemaine – and they have already booked accommodation in Castlemaine for nest year.

      Could we finish the Festival on Sunday Afternoon? Probably not. Surprisingly, you are the only one to have suggested this. There is actually considerable pressure on us to extend the Festival into the Monday. The packing up is done by four or five people on the Monday – and takes all day. A number of bands requested timeslots so that they could get back to Melbourne for Sunday evening – mainly, I think, because they had other gigs booked for that night. There was strong pressure to put on Friday evening sessions – we originally intended this to be just a jam session and two other venues, but it ended up as 6 of the 8 venues from 6.00pm to 10pm.

      Would the Festival work on a “normal” weekend? Yes, it probably would. However, we did a survey of other events on a variety of weekends, and you would be surprised at how crowded the Calendar is. The Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend is one of very few available time slots. There are 2800 Festivals in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania each year, and 73 in Ballarat alone.

      Inverloch Jazz Festival, which has been going down a similar path to Merimbula (exclusive and getting smaller) announced that they would be changing from the Labour Day weekend next year. Shortly afterwards, they announced they would stick with their date, and have changed the Committtee instead.

      The reason for choosing a long weekend is partly economic. It encourages visitors to book accomodation, and spend money locally, and from the point of view of musicians, gives them significantly more playing opportunities. If we moved to a normal weekend, we would have to decline 20 – 30% of applications – we cannot expect a musician to travel up from, say, Adelaide (as several did) for a maximum of two 45 minute sessions. The same applies to audience – we had a group from Queensland who estimated the total cost for each of them was $41 per session (22 sessions in total – you do the maths!)

      There have been suggestions we alternate with the State Arts Festival, which is held every two years in Castlemaine and attracts, I think, around 3500 visitors. ( we were around 1000 per day) This would make the planning less onerous (around 400 – 500 hours for each Committee member and two days for 35 volunteers) but it would be erroneous to think that this would attract the State Arts Festival audience which is a different demographic.

      We chose Castlemaine as being close enough to Melbourne, where most of the musicians, and 40% of the audience come from, so that people could come up for a day trip, or, as some musicians did, travel back to Melbourne overnight and come back the next day; and far enough away that people would choose to stay overnight, which is a considerable benefit to the local economy. It would seem that most people choose to stay overnight.

      I hope that gives you some background to your questions. I also hope you enjoyed the Festival and will be back next year.


      Ted Woollan


      1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Ted. It is obviously an onerous juggling act and you can’t please everyone, nor can any of us do all the things they’d like to do.
        And yes, I did enjoy attending the Festival and will strongly consider returning next year. But it also
        clashes with two other major non-musical events for me. Choices, choices!


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