CASTLEMAINE JAZZ FESTIVAL: THE CHAOS CHRONICLES

Captain “scoop” Chaos attended the fifth Jazz Festival – a prodigious effort as the last surviving Committee member since 2014.

The Festival has slowly developed, with an increasing number of innovations and changes. The summary from this year’s website:

For the first time, the festival will run (has run)…over FOUR days, instead of the usual three, allowing us to bring you more of the jazz you have come to know and love, as well as some new exciting elements to discover.

The 2018 annual Castlemaine Jazz Festival will take place right in the heart of Castlemaine at a number of separate (historic) venues, each within walking distance and all especially selected to create the ideal environment to enjoy the weekend of jazz.

There has been a wealth of comment both good and not so good from mainly Melbourne based Festival goers

The four days worked well. Monday went particularly well with good audience numbers at each of the venues.

The Nubya Garcia concert was packed. This international star and band delivered in spades. Several people commented that this was at the expense of audience for other bands in other festival venues. The Indonesian band from Ubud (Bali) received rave reviews. There were an increased number of highly professional Australian groups.

The Cumberland White Board sessions: great on Saturday, less popular on Sunday. This was intended to provide (free to the public) sessions for festival and other musicians. A work in progress. The festival late night jams peaked as usual on Saturday.

Reduced number of Venues. The scheduling worked well, and there was plenty of opportunity for festival goers to catch their preferred bands. Probably the pick of the venues was the Maurocco Bar, with the best sound at the Bridge .

Big Band Venues – one comment was that the Festival presented a good opportunity for big bands (seven listed). With the Old Castlemaine Gaol venues likely to be unavailable next year, this presents a future challenge for the 2019 Committee.

The Website: the layout was, eventually, much improved over previous years.

Marketing and Promotion: for various unforeseen issues this did not go as well as planned. Nevertheless, there was a good awareness of the Festival with Melbourne based Festival goers and ticket sales were probably up on previous years.

The Jammers who attended: Regular Jammers who took part were Michael Findlay, Jeff Harris, Fermin Navasques, John Calamatta, Malcolm Hornby, Annie Smith, John Curtis, Mike Hirsh, Bill Swannie, Ivan Sultanof, Lisette Payet and the Captain. Spotted amongst the patrons were Keith Hughes and Kevin Rolfs.

In summary, the Festival was a howling success, moving from an inclusive model towards a more exclusive approach with a higher standard of musicianship as the outcome.

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