31 May 2024

Festival to jazz up long weekend in Merimbula

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Merimbula Jazz Festival

Young and more experienced musicians get together to play at the festival. Photo: Supplied.

Jazz music in all its very different genres is set to be playing in venues throughout Merimbula over the June long weekend (7-10 June) with the opening of the Merimbula Jazz Festival.

Now in its 42nd year, the festival has undergone a number of changes over the years but a key one for 2024 is the introduction of vocal workshops.

This year will see a gospel workshop and a jazz swing workshop take place with participants becoming part of the festival program.

Gospel workshop participants will perform at the ecumenical service at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Merimbula at 11:30 am Sunday 9 June and the jazz swing choir will perform as part of the opening ceremony at Club Sapphire on 8 June at noon.

Nearly 90 bands comprising almost 500 musicians will perform across seven venues at this year’s festival.

New this year is the inclusion of Dulcie’s Cottage which will host bands on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon.

Jazz musicians playing

Almost 90 bands will play across seven venues. Photo: Supplied.

The festival, which is totally volunteer run, is a circular economy. Rotary and Lions clubs assist by providing volunteers and the festival in turn makes a significant donation which is then used for the good works carried out by the clubs.

The Merimbula Jazz Festival is a not-for profit organisation which likes to give back to its musicians when funds allow.

Main events:

The program runs from Friday 7 June to Sunday 9 June, with almost 90 bands playing across seven venues from 4 – 10 pm Friday, 11 am – 10 pm Saturday and 11 am – 11 pm Sunday – ticket holders.

Opening ceremony – Saturday 8 June, noon – 1 pm, Club Sapphire – free entry.

Featured bands include the Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestra, and Leisa Keen and the Keen Kats who will back the jazz swing choir. There will be dancing from the energetic and amazing Swing Katz and Merimbula’s Take Your Brain Dancing. Join the festival organisers, Eden-Monaro MP Kristy McBain and Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick as they welcome everyone to the 42nd year of the Merimbula Jazz Festival.

Lantern walk

The Lantern Walk is a tradition at the festival. Photo: Supplied.

Lantern Walk – Saturday 8 June, 5 pm for 5:30pm, Spencer Park – free entry. The Lantern Walk has become a traditional part of the Merimbula Jazz Festival. Pop on an extra layer and head to Spencer Park with your lanterns (battery lights only please). Check out some of the creative lanterns and see the dragon boat arrive covered in lights.

The Lantern Walk starts at 5:30 pm and makes its way to Market Street.

Jazz Quest – Sunday 9 June, 1 to 4 pm, Merimbula RSL Club – ticket holders.

The Merimbula Jazz Festival has, for the past 12 years, maintained a strong interest in promoting and encouraging younger jazz musicians. The team is delighted to continue this work thanks to the generous help of Bendigo Bank Pambula and Bega, who ensure the popular Jazz Quest continues to showcase young talented musicians.

Ecumenical Service – Sunday 9 June, 11:30 am, St Joseph’s Church, Merimbula, free entry.

St Joseph’s, Merimbula is the spiritual home of the Jazz Festival Ecumenical Service with its plentiful seating and room for musicians. Come along for the service, lift up your hearts and sing. Hear the Merimbula Jazz Festival Gospel Choir, the result of one of the first ever vocal workshops.

Join the Jazz Party – Monday 10 June, 11 am to 4 pm, Merimbula RSL Club – free entry.

It’s party time at the Merimbula RSL Club on Monday 10 June from 11 am. Sit back and enjoy six bands with non-stop music plus a raffle organised by the Down South Jazz Club.

Weekend passes are available on the Merimbula Jazz Festival website or from the jazz office next to the Visitor Information Centre from Thursday 6 June for $125. Day passes, $60, session passes $50 from the jazz office, Club Sapphire and Merimbula RSL during the festival. Students Year 12 and under free.

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