The Merimbula Jazz Festival returns to celebrate its 40th anniversary

After a two-year absence due to COVID, the Merimbula Jazz Festival returns, ready to welcome visitors and celebrate the 40th festival.

One of Australia’s oldest jazz festivals, the Merimbula Jazz Festival takes place over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, from Friday 10th June to Monday 13th June.

Six venues around the city will host several musicians and groups, including the famous Royal Australian Navy Big Band.

Festival programming coordinator Paul Dion said that looking back at the past two years, now is the time to play jazz and have fun.

“From traditional to swing, passing through modern and funk, the festival offers jazz in all its forms performed by more than 80 groups and nearly 500 musicians of all ages,” said Mr. Dion.

“There are over 170 hours of live jazz to choose from, spread across six locations from Friday night through Monday afternoon.”

On Saturday morning, the Jazz Parade will feature musicians, community groups, marching bands and dancers, led by the town crier.

An afternoon of food, music and other entertainment will take place in the early evening as part of the WinterSun Festival which is also taking place. This will include the Saltwater Swim from Mitchies Pier at 8am on Saturday, followed by a longer 1.2km swim between the Pier and Pier Lake for cold water enthusiasts and the opportunity to take part in the 27 km quay to quay walk from Tathra to Merimbula on Sunday morning. . See https://wintersunfest.com.au/ for more details.

As the sun sets on Saturday evening, light your lantern and join the atmospheric Lantern Walk through town from Spencer Park, led by the Town Crier.

Everyone is encouraged to make their own lanterns (battery powered lights only) and the more creative the better!

Late Saturday night is one of the most anticipated events for jazz lovers, showcasing the often extraordinary talents of young musicians under the age of 25.

“Some of our past winners have traveled overseas with their music or have had successful careers here in Australia,” Mr. Dion said.

On Sunday mornings the popular ecumenical service which has a jazz/gospel flavor is held at Club Sapphire, Merimbula at 11am on Sunday. The club also hosts the Jazz Art exhibition.

Monday is the Jazz Hatter’s Party at the Merimbula RSL Club from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – six bands, non-stop music.

See www.merimbulajazz.org.au for more details. A full weekend Jazz Festival pass is $110. Session passes are also available.

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Willie J. Johnson