Port Fairy Jazz Festival

TRUMPETING EVENT: Port Fairy Jazz Festival committee member Bernie Oppermann is tuning up ahead of the weekend. Over 350 performers will be in town for the festival. Picture: Rob Gunstone
TRUMPETING EVENT: Port Fairy Jazz Festival committee member Bernie Oppermann is tuning up ahead of the weekend. Over 350 performers will be in town for the festival. Picture: Rob Gunstone

PORT Fairy’s golden tourism summer will continue this weekend with jazz fans and musicians to converge on the town.

The Port Fairy Jazz Festival will begin at 5pm on Friday and continue through until the same time on Sunday.

The program includes 350 performers, with organisers expecting to match or better last year’s audience of 1750.

Festival chairman Rod Carter said all signs are positive for a big weekend ahead.

“I think we will have an increase in numbers. At this stage, we could only fit 2000 in a best-case scenario,” he said.

“There will be 120 bands playing. We had to prune a bit this year, we couldn’t accept everyone who applied because we just couldn’t fit them all in.”

Each band will play two gigs over the weekend with a number of musicians playing in multiple bands. Like last year, the bands will play at 10 venues, The Star of the West Hotel, the Lecture Hall, the senior citizens clubrooms, Reardon Theatre, the Drill Hall, Saint Johns Anglican Church, Port Fairy Consolidated School, St Parick’s primary school, the surf club and Fiddler’s Green.

The surf club and the consolidated school are new venues this year, replacing the RSL Hall, which will be used as the festival office, and the Royal Oak Hotel, which is currently shut.

A shuttle bus will be running on the weekend to transfer performers and fans from venue to venue. 

Mr Carter said headline acts for the festival will be the Hot B Hines and Shirazz, with full houses excepted for their shows.

A new inclusion at this year’s festival is an Open Mike session. This will be held at the Lecture Hall on Saturday at noon. Acts will be able to chose from a list of songs which will be played by the Melbourne Music Performers’ House Cats. Both musicians and vocalists can take part in the session.

On Saturday morning at Readon Theatre, Port Fairy’s Gavin Franklin will present a workshop on the history of jazz piano. 

Mr Carter said there is a strong air of anticipation building up for the festival.

“We have made some good ground and we have a bank of electronic data that is making it much easier from an organisation point of view,” he said.