And what of Merimbula Jazz Festival?

“Too far away, tired old format, too much trad, same faces every year, getting smaller every year.”…that was Merimbula Jazz Festival in 2014. It must be said that one motive for starting the Castlemaine Jazz Festival was as an opportunity for musicians whose budget did not stretch to the 1,158km round trip. It is rather pleasing to get reports of how Merimbula has changed, and developed in new ways..All three respondents were, overall, positive. Read on.

Sir Roger de Coverley

Merimbula was a great festival again this year .Lots of fellowship , lots of muso’s but this year there was many more big bands than usual . Some of the big bands were very very good and some were community and school bands which lacked a little experience and polish.

There were the regulars i.e. Sarah Maclaine , Ron Anderson ,Alan Richards ,Blue Tango and more . I had a group with Gavin Franklin a Dr of music from James Morrison Jazz School in Mount Gambier, Larry Kean , Doug Kuhn and we were very pleased with the response of the crowd and our gigs were packed .Gavin is a great old friend of mine and I make special mention of him as he is a tremendous player and made such a special effort to get there.There were also some very high quality bands from Canberra which were a pleasure to hear .

My only other comment is that there were far less Trad bands this year .

Alan R the drummer.

Of course, not everything was perfect – the scheduling left some musicians with lesser venues and late night spots: quite probably because those were the musicians registered with multiple bands.

Dave the bass:

Glowing reports on the venues, and the sound equipment, and quality the music (Canberra musos?). Same gripe about scheduling. The crowds were up, the weather was good and the oysters tasty. What’s not to like?

In summary, the increasing numbers coming from Canberra, and the gradual increase in big bands to offset the decline in trad bands, and a focus on younger musicians promises well for the future.

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