Here we are in beach resort Noosa Heads, Queensland, for the 20th Noosa Jazz Festival – and after cold, wet Melbourne it’s great to see the sun.
Our apartment (Positano Beachfront Apartments) is on the main drag – Hastings Street – which is alive with music and the passing crowds day, and particularly, night. Out the back are the pool, the beach, and the boardwalk which is heavily used by joggers, strollers and the odd musician.
Across the way is the lively Rococco Restaurant which features great crowd-attracting music into the wee small hours. (More of this later).
The Festival originated in 1992 as the brain child of the fabled Frank Johnson, leader of the Fabulous Dixielanders, and Richard Stevens of The Jazz Factory, and this year runs for four days from 1 to 4 September.
Tragically Frank died in Noosa in 2000 as a result of a traffic accident.
For old time’s sake, here’s a recording of the Dixielanders playing Forty and Tight.
The Festival program includes:
– a Welcome Party at Bicentennial Hall
– a street parade down the infamous Hastings Street
– a long (in duration and length) lunch , Tastings on Hastings, where restaurants vie with each other to provide the best food and drink for about 600 revellers who are entertained with jazz from strategically placed stages, and by strolling bands
– jazz river cruises
– afternoon and evening performances in restaurants and other venues
– a free outdoor stage in the Noosa Woods at the end of Hastings Street highlighting some of the fine local youth (and other) bands.
But the focus for us is the NOOSA JAZZ PARTY held in Bicentennial Hall – 6 hours of jazz for 4 nights from the cream of Australia’s musicians, in the tradition of the original Noosa Show of 1992. Many of these musos are leaders of their own bands who come together in Noosa to play in different groupings and in different trad styles.
The Party is being organised and funded by the Noosa Heads Jazz Club under the leadership of President Richard Stevens..
By my reckoning there are about 25 musicians involved, so by the end of the Festival, they will certainly have earned their keep!!