Australian Jazz Convention 2013: a rescue mission

THE 67th Australian Jazz Convention was held in the former gold-mining town of Forbes, New South Wales on the banks of the Lachlan River (population about 7,000) between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve 2012. This is the fifth time that the Convention has been held in this small town 380 km (240 miles) west of Sydney, and without doubt they know how to run a good Convention! This is a Convention record for any country town in Australia.

But unlike in previous years, no city, town or hamlet came forward to claim the privilege of presenting the next Convention. There were real fears that this legendary event on the Australian jazz calendar might have reached its use-by date. The Convention Steering Committee was dissolved. It was a bit like no nation wanting the Olympic Games!

Then a group of stalwart jazz musicians and supporters offered themselves as a rescue mission – to find a suitable location, raise funds, organise promotion, and do all those other things which normally have a two year lead-in time.

The group – currently a Task Force – comprises Rod Andrew, Ken Hill, Chis Gildersleeve, Harvey Duff, Reg Packer, and Don and Margaret Anderson.

A number of locations have been investigated and I understand we can expect an announcement some time next month. You can check the Australian Jazz Convention website for news, and I’ll let you know as soon as I have anything further to report.

Most of you have probably already seen this wonderful clip by Stefan Sargent from the 14th AJC in Cootamundra in 1959 when the world was young.

And a bit more sedate – at the Bundaberg Convention No. 66 in 2011 – but the enjoyment for musicians and delegates is still the same.

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