Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues reveals lineup for groundbreaking 2020 event

Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues reveals lineup for groundbreaking 2020 event

Barney McAll
Words by Tom Parker

The beloved festival has just announced their 2020 program.

The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues has captured the imagination of Australian music lovers for 30 years now, consistently delivering groundbreaking events and boundary-pushing programs that challenge their audience to think outside the box.

As a result of the disruptions caused by COVID-19, the festival has made a landmark transition into an online event for 2020. In doing so, they will celebrate Australia’s premier jazz and blues artists in a program that will boast new commissions, collaborations and never-before-seen archival footage.

They’ve also got a special treat in store with a special international guest lined up, while the National Jazz Awards will occur – a suite of special performances will go down before a winner and placegetters are crowned.

Taking place across seven days from Monday October 26 to Sunday November 1, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues will kick off with a special performance from the Barney McAll Unit (featuring pianist McAll alongside saxophonist Julien Wilson, Sam Anning on double bass and emerging drummer Dom Stitt) on night one.

Then from Tuesday October 27 and until the festival’s conclusion, punters can expect appearances from the likes of the Margie Lou Dyer Quintet, Tim Stevens, Nick Haywood, Dutch collective the Kika Sprangers Large Ensemble, Alex Hirlian alongside his sextet Arcing Wires, and the Jo Lawry Quartet with The New Cabal.

That’s just the start – audiences can also look forward to special commissions such as I Heart Improvisation, celebrating the beauty of the slapdash and equally exhilarating art form, as well as Still in Motion – A Retrospective, a fascinating archival photo essay from journalist, photographer and jazz devotee Roger Mitchell.

On the festival’s penultimate night, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues will culminate with the announcement of the National Jazz Awards winners. As the contenders battle it out throughout the event, judges Michelle Nicolle, Kristin Berardi and Sam Keevers will be watching closely.

From the ten shortlisted finalists, the top three will be recognised for their achievements. A $7,000 prize will go to the winner alongside a Pughouse Studios recording session, second place will receive $4,000 with third taking home $2,000.

This year’s finalists are Harriett Allcroft (VIC), Briana Cowlishaw (NSW), Olivia Chindamo (VIC), Amelia Evans (VIC), Lucy Iffla (WA), Lauren Henderson (SA), Josh Kyle (VIC), Owen Measday (WA), Rita Satch (VIC) and Jessica Spina (QLD).

The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues can be watched via the festival website. Tickets range from $15 for a single-day pass up to $79 which gets you access to every event going down.

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The program is out!⠀ After much planning and even more adjusting, the festival Board is excited to present the program for this year’s streamed festival. ⠀ ⠀ It includes new commissions and collaborations, never before seen archival footage and an exclusive international appearance alongside loads of homegrown talent.⠀ ⠀ When the decision was made to have a streamed event, the Board and artistic team reached out to key organisations across the nation. What came back was unreserved enthusiasm, generosity and drive to make things happen. ⠀ ⠀ This support has resulted in the festival partnering with COMA (Creative Original Music Adelaide) and the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel in Adelaide, Sydney’s Venue 505, the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival and SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association), the MJC (Melbourne Jazz Co-operative) and Australian Jazz Museum in Melbourne. ⠀ ⠀ There’s so much on the program we can’t mention it here but look out for the Australian debut of 2018 Amersfoort Laureate, Kika Sprangers Large Ensemble. ⠀ ⠀ Of course, we also feature the performances of this year’s National Jazz Awards 10 finalists – Harriett Allcroft (VIC), Briana Cowlishaw (NSW), Olivia Chindamo(VIC), Amelia Evans (VIC), Lucy Iffla (WA), Lauren Henderson (SA), Josh Kyle (VIC), Owen Measday (WA), Rita Satch (VIC), Jessica Spina (QLD). ⠀ ⠀ So, who else is on the program and how do you buy your tickets? All the details are on our website – link in bio.⠀ ⠀ @australianjazzmuseum⠀ @sydneyimprovisedmusicassoc⠀ @venue505⠀ @lovethegov⠀ @coma_official⠀ ⠀ #WangarattaJazzFestival⠀⠀ #30YearsJazz⠀

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The Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues goes down from Monday October 26 to Sunday November 1. For more info and to grab tickets, head here.

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