Bellingen ? and all that jazz
By UTE SCHULENBERG
AUDIENCES at this year's Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival have been left very happy, somewhat hung over and wanting more, much more.
Coordinator Ted Greenwood said the event was everything organisers had hoped for.
"The atmosphere has been brilliant," Mr Greenwood said.
"We've had happy people walking into shows saying they can't wait to see the artist and walking out saying it was fantastic."
Saturday saw thousands of visitors streaming into the town.
There was cramming room only around the performance pavilion at the monthly markets, the main street was one solid stream of traffic most of the day and parking nearby was either wishful thinking or serendipity.
Cuban band Armandito Y Su Trovason quickly had audiences sweating to passionate Latin rumba rhythms, while Sydney band, Psycho Zydeco, thrilled with their potent mix of spicy Cajun/Creole blues.
Vince Jones fomented quiet revolution to a huge audience with his mellifluous melodies about world peace and corporate greed, while Bruce Brown enchanted with the sweet honesty of his music.
For long-time festival supporter and jazz aficionado, Gilly Adams, the saxophone of Jamie Oehlers was the best she'd ever heard and, on Friday night, festival founding member Mauri Thomas had his magic moment when Dixie Jam Session spontaneously teamed up with the Lounge Wizards, bringing the audience to its feet.
Jazz lovers travelled from all over for the weekend.
According to Mr Greenwood, a quick flick through one book of raffle tickets revealed addresses from Newcastle to Coffs Harbour, every one from a different coastal town.
And 13 friends have now joined Jane Savage, who has been coming from Toowoomba for the last three years.
"I was born in Bellingen ? I just love coming back for the jazz, the freshness and the fun," she said.
Down by the river on Sunday, the bank was thick with blankets and bodies of all ages, getting their final fill of jazz, salsa and of course the rhythm and blues of Joe Camilleri.