Jazz fest hits the right note
THE weather gods smiled on two days of serious jazz and jumping blues at Dingo Creek Winery on the weekend.
The annual Wine, Jazz and Blues Festival brought hundreds of music lovers to the Traveston vineyard where some of the biggest names in Australian music took to the stage to support SIDS and Kids Queensland.
As the music and home-grown wines flowed, the weekend was hailed a great success by Dingo Creek owners Marg and David Gillespie who were keen to make up for the cancellation of last year’s event due to flooding.
“We’re thrilled with how it’s all going,” said Marg as the big top overlooking the vineyard filled for Saturday afternoon’s session.
“With more floods earlier this year and the economy the way it is, we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd.
“And it’s great having so many big names performing here again this year. Some have been here so many times they’ve become family.
“It’s also great seeing the crowd’s response to the first-timers, like (blues singer) Jamie Lockhart. The whole idea of the festival is to give people the chance to hear artists they won’t hear in the local pubs.”
Pomona-based Lockhart joined a stellar line-up of performers including Dingo Creek veteran and master of swing John Morrison and his wife, jazz singer Jacki Cooper, guitarist/vocalist John Nicol, Bob Abbot and his blues band, the Janet Seidel Trio, singer Ian Beddows, and a detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band.
As evening fell across the vineyard, the pace picked up, with legendary virtuoso of the saxophone Willy Qua and his new Galapogus Duck blowing up a storm under the big top.
Festival regulars the Police Band of Blue then got the audience into dance mode with its classic rock numbers ahead of Blind Lemon and their sensational blues taking the night to a late close.
Hundreds of jazz lovers camped the night, waking to a dawn chorus of kookaburras, whip birds and magpies heralding day two of the festival which saw most of the artists return to the stage for a more laid-back Sunday session.
A student workshop with John Morrison, Jacki Cooper and musicians from Gympie primary and high schools got under way early on Sunday, finishing with a Supa School Band performance which Morrison described as “just great”.
“The kids loved it and we had fun working with them,” he said.
“These kids were chosen from workshops we did with the schools on Friday but we also had other interested kids who tagged along, which was just what we wanted.
“All up we had 17 kids, which is the standard size of a big band, and we also had some of the guys from Galapogus Duck come in and sit with them. We played some solos and talked to the kids about the things we do.
“Rubbing shoulders with artists is part of the Dingo Creek specialty and for these kids to sit up there on stage with the guys and all the gear was a great thing.”
Morrison said the artists also enjoyed the uniqueness of the Dingo Creek festival.
“We’re all effectively running businesses outside the festival but when you get four or five bands together where they can socialise and play together like you can at Dingo Creek, it’s fabulous.
“Here, we all bunk down together on the veranda and compare snoring.”