Castlemaine Jazz Festival Annual General Meeting

This Saturday sees the Festival AGM, in Castlemaine.

There has been considerable disquiet from a number of quarters at the way the Committee has run in the last year, and a number of issues will be raised at the AGM,

,,,not least of which will be the very short notice for members to pay a $5 levy, the failure to notify all members in a timely manner, thereby potentially excluding a large part of the volunteer base, and the mooted proposal to change the Festival to more professional bands on negotiated fees, thereby excluding the musicians who have supported the Festival voluntarily for the last five years.

Could be an interesting meeting…

If you are a member, and haven’t yet downloaded Proxy Forms: copy and paste, to download at

You will need to email these to the secretary, or colin at Colin Garrett <> prontissimo *

* an obscure musical expression roughly translated as “very quickly,” or possibly as “For F***’s sake slow down”


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.


* Captain “scoop” Chaos has promised a glowing report on this year’s Castlemaine Jazz Festival. Once we have scanned it to make sure it doesn’t contain any glaring accuracies, and put in some photographs, we will publish this asap. From what I can gather…

* There were almost too many big bands, I love them so what’s not to like.

* The Navy Band were terrific and want to come again

* The headline acts were well received and sold out on occasion.

* It was cold as a witches t*t in the mornings but the rain held off and the weather was kind.

Castlemaine Jazz Festival

The website has, at last, plenty of information on the bands playing and the venues. It all happens this weekend, and whether you are thinking of going for the full four days, or just dipping in to see the highlights, including Nubya Garcia, who has already sold out her MIJF dates (the Age, Tuesday 5th June), it is about time to saddle up the nag and head North. Continue reading

Castlemaine Jazz Festival 2018

Found some flyers on the tables: the first sighting of publicity for the Jazz Festival, and in the only room in Victoria where everyone has aready heard of it. Never mind, the juggernaut is, we are assured, gathering pace.

Summer Isn’t upon us

But it might as well be… this was an upmarket little jam session, characterised by early and mighty fine bebop, followed by a parade of singers. All bound together by the indefatigable Ivan (double bass), playing all afternoon, and playing well at that.

The Captain, Volkers, Will and Jeff led the rattle and squeak section, with Mr Findlay leading out the drummers. A fairly new guitarist, possibly called Haydn, played well; and Nadira Farid’s bassist (Hayden?) gave Ivan the briefest of respites whilst the Big Ho’s finest warmed her tonsils for that night’s gig. Preceded by the Divine Miss Smith, and followed by Chloe, then Katerina. Sam Izzo (piano) mercifully restored some dignity to proceedings. Continue reading

AGM for Castlemaine Jazz Festival

This is coming up in a week’s time: Saturday 2nd September at 11am in the Chewton Community & Senior Citizens’ Centre, Main Road Chewton

If you are a member of the Association, you should have received a proxy form to fill in. The good Captain will be attending, naturally, and the Melbourne Jammers’ interests will be best served by giving him your proxy . If you cannot attend, please fill in the form and return it to him

Castlemaine done and dusted

The Fourth Annual Castlemaine Jazz Bash went off without a hitch. Several people commented on the generally higher standard of music this year, and at least two of us thought that the Criterion Hotel was the pick of the venues. Certainly heard some good music there.

This year’s Committee had its moments, and by the time the Festival opened there were only four or five of the original 12 members still standing. In the circumstances, a fine effort.

It was great to see the quirky Run Rabbit Run back and packed, the Church hosted some fine music, and the Old Castlemaine Gaol was pumping all weekend. I must confess I ran out of time and didn’t get to Faulder Watson or the Cumberland; and the policy of consolidating the performance spaces rather than using more outlying venues seems to have been well received.

Hetty Kate’s master classes were well attended and the Dinner Dance on Sunday night sold out. Phew!

And the bands? Loved the Jazzsisters, Tim Nelson Band got better and better, Nadira Farid was a smash, Stomperoo was fun, and on a personal note, it was gratifying to see Katerina Myskova and Joys Njambi both play to full houses.

Lots of Jammers played, or volunteered or both. A fun weekend.

Castlemaine this weekend

It must be with a sense of relief that the Committee can finally sit back, relax and then panic all weekend at long last. The Fourth Annual Jazz Festival de Castlemaine kicks off on Friday evening, and keeps going all weekend. Eighty or Ninety bands, eight venues (or is it nine?), Vocals Masterclasses, a jazz parade, a supper club – there is more than enough to keep the most jaded jazzophile occupied.

And if you run out of ideas, I suggest you indulge in some vigorous warm-up calisthenics as the Big C is going to be cold as a witches t*t.

There will be bands from Queensland (stomperoo) and from Tasmania (Nadira F) and just about everywhere in between.

You can purchase a ticket (cash or card) on the day from the Ray Bradfield Room (it should be well signed), and there is a range of ticket choices: all day, evening, all weekend etc. etc. Children under 12 get in free, (children under 3 can get in for $250)

Hope to see you there!

Festival for beginners: start here…

Meanwhile, back at the big C, preparations proceed apace for the Fourth Annual Castlemaine Jazz Festival, President Carpenter dodging the bullets; and indeed for the 49th edition of the Castlemaine Jam Session, Judge Turnbull presiding. It all goes off like a frog in a sock over the first (jam) and second (jazz) weekend in June.

This year’s Festival takes another lurch to the left, with new venues (Anglican Church, Theatre Royal and Maurocco Bar), big band karaoke, and a couple of master classes for aspiring singers with featured chanteuse Hetty Kate, followed by an evening of dancing at the supper club. Rumour has it that several tickets have been sold, and around 350 musicians will be descending on the ‘burg all weekend to make up the numbers.

Should be fun…