Jazz festival hits a high note in Castlemaine

The Castlemaine Jazz Festival is working to refine itself and provide a great crowd experience as it looks toward the future.

Celebrating it’s fifth year with a four-day event, president Calum McClure said it the Castlemaine Jazz Festival had cemented itself in the town’s calendar.

“We have had really good attendance this year and I think it’s safe to say numbers are up on last year’s festival,” he said.

“It’s well and truly cemented itself on (the Queen’s Birthday) weekend and all the bands are happy to come and keep coming.”

Mr McClure said while there was room to grow, he and fellow organisers wanted to improve it.

“It's more about the festival getting better technically and having that really great experience for the punters rather than going as big as we can,” he said.

“There's room to grow but it's one of those things where you have to find the venues.

“We want to focus on making this a really good festival.”

Almost 80 bands took part in this year’s festival which ran across seven stages at six venue.

“That includes the Cumberland Hotel, which was an open mic stage this year,” Mr McClure said.

“The Anglican Church, the Theatre Royal, Morocco Bar and the Bridge Hotel had stages and the Old Castlemaine Gaol hosted two stages.

“We’re unsure what will happen with (the gaol) and its new owners. We may negotiate for next year but will see how we go.”

Among the many performances at the four-day jazz festival was the Goldfields Jazz Orchestra’s first ever performance.

“They went really well with a full crowd in,” Mr McClure said.

“Everyone was happy and despite some early nerves on their first ever performance, (the Jazz Orchestra) settled into it and it was really great.

“We also had two international acts, one from the UK and one from Bali, a bunch of bands from Melbourne and a bunch from Castlemaine as well as from Bendigo and Ballarat.”

For more photos of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival turn to page 12.