Jazzing up Bellingen

The Crooked Fiddle band will play at several gigs in the Bellingen Jazz and Manouche Festival.
The Crooked Fiddle band will play at several gigs in the Bellingen Jazz and Manouche Festival.

JAZZ lovers need no introduction to the Bellingen Jazz and Manouche Festival but the three-day event – on this weekend – has a funky new edge in the massive line-up of events.

Full of the unexpected, the fresh-look festival has evolved to the next generation of jazz, incorporating the swinging rhythms of manouche – the gypsy jazz made popular by Django Reinhardt in Paris in the 1930s.

Some exciting young urban jazz musicians will give audiences a taste of scenes in Brunswick Street, Balmain Unity Hall and Chicago.

One of the hottest acts is Flap! Music buffs declare this group’s sound is too fun for jazz, but cannot be mistaken for pop. While the vocals are obviously Australian, influences from 1920s jazz, English folk and Trinidadian calypso ripple through.

Flap! is made of artists with great musical resumes, such as Jess Guille, Eamon McNelis (Zulya, City City City), Mark Elton (C.W. Stoneking, Blue Grassy Knoll), Ben Hendry (Kate Vigo, Shane Warne the Musical) and Don Stewart (The Band Who Knew Too Much).

Pictured here are festival favourites The Crooked Fiddle Band, known for their intense ‘chainsaw folk’ live shows.

Driven by the beautiful and furious fiddling of Jess Randall, and underpinned by a rhythm section featuring Gordon Wallace (bouzouki, guitar, banjo, mandolin), Mark Stevens (double bass, Appalachian dulcimer, charango) and Joe Gould (drum kit, hand percussion, garbage bin, vocals), the Crooked Fiddle Band members combine their talents to create a joyous frenzy.

Flap! and The Crooked Fiddle Band join The Cope Street Parade at the Hyde Street Swamp at Bellingen Diggers Tavern on Saturday night.

At the Bellingen Community Markets on Saturday, high school big bands will be duking it out in the friendly Big Band Bash.

Enjoy a gospel service in St Margaret’s Church on Sunday morning before driving out in the afternoon to historic Gleniffer Hall for the huge line-up at the outdoor picnic concert.

Take the kids and grandparents, rugs and chairs for a relaxing day in tranquil Gleniffer listening to the sounds of one of Australia’s longest-running jazz festivals.

Early bird prices are available until 9am Friday. Weekend passes are still available and are great value for all three days at $105. Tickets are available online at or from Roots Music in Hyde St, Bellingen, or during the festival at Bellingen Memorial Hall. Individual events cost as little as $15.

Have a look below at the full list of Bellingen Jazz and Manouche Festival events this weekend – when the valley will buzz with a new, funky jazz vibe.

FRIDAY, August 19

8.30am-10.30am: The Satin Bowerbirds, The Blue Pegs and guests at Butter Factory Marquee Club

12.30-6.00pm: Freo Reunion, Paris Dreaming and guests at Butter Factory Marquee Club

6.30-10.00pm: Trunk Road and Heather Rose at Lodge 241

7.00-10.30pm: Unity Hall Jazz Club featuring Brad Child, Dan Barnett, George Washingmachine, Don Heap, Gary Walford and Anthony Howe at Bellingen Golf Club

8.00-12.00pm: Date/Maddox Band, Zoobop, Eddie Bronson and Bulanyi Brothers at Butter Factory Marquee Club

8.00-11.30pm: John Braben’s Brisbane Nighthawks at The Federal

8.30pm-12.00am: Cope Street Parade, Lucky Oceans Band and Dave Brewer at Diggers Tavern

9.30-11.30am: Eddie Plays For You at Butter Factory Marquee Club

10.00am-2.00pm: Bellingen High School Band, Duvall High School Band and Time Out Big Band at Bellingen Markets

11.00am-1.00pm: Carol Ralph, Ray Aldridge and John Braben’s Brisbane Nighthawks at Bellingen Golf Club

12.00-3.00pm: Jeff Harrold and guests at Butter Factory Marquee Club

1.30-5.00pm: Shottleboppers, Cameron de la Vega and Paris Dreaming at Bellingen Golf Club

1.30-3.00pm: Gospels with Carol Ralph and Ray Aldridge at St Margaret’s Church

3.00-4.30pm: Doug de Vries solo guitar choro at Uniting Church

3.00-6.30pm: Daniel Weltinger’s All Stars at The Federal

4.00-6.30pm: Django 101 at Bellingen Memorial Hall

4.00-7.30pm: Cheap Frock Serenaders, Banjo and Sousaphone Madness at Butter Factory Marquee Club

5.30-8.00pm: Unity Hall Jazz Band at Bellingen Golf Club

6.30-9.30pm: Carol Ralph, Ray Aldridge and Peter Freeman at Lodge 241

7.30-10.00pm: Lucky Oceans with Dave Brewer and Band at Bellingen Memorial hall

8.00-11.30pm: Gadjo Guitars, Cameron de la Vega, Zoobop, Shottleboppers and Doug de Vries at Butter Factory Marquee Club

8.00-11.30pm: Frogmouth at The Federal

8.30-11.30pm: Flap! and Virus at Bellingen Golf Club

8.30pm-12.00am: Cope Street Parade, Crooked Fiddle Band and Flap! at Diggers Tavern

10.30pm-late: John Branen’s Brisbane Nighthawks and guests at Butter Factory Marquee Club

8.30-10.30am: Sousphone and Banjo Madness and guests at Butter Factory Marquee Club

9.00-11.30am: Freo Reunion at Manouche at the Bean

10.00am: Gospel service with Carol Ralph and Ray Aldridge at St Margarets Church

10.30am-4.30pm: Cameron de la Vega, Virus, Ewan Mackenzie All Stars, The Satin Bower Birds, Carol Ralph, Jazz Party, Flap!, Cope Street Parade at the Jazz Picnic at Glennifer

11.00am-1.30pm: John Braben’s Brisbane Nighthawks at Bellingen Golf Club

12.05-2.30pm: Swingphonia, Sultrio and AkaBella at Butter Factory Marquee Club

12.30-4.00pm: Freo Reunion Band at The Federal

2.00-5.00pm: Sam Lemanns Hawaiian Set at Bellingen Golf Club

3.00-8.00pm: Manouche Party Session at Butter Factory Marquee Club

6.30-9.30pm: Date/Maddox Band and guests at The Federal

7.00-11.00pm: Virus and the Cheap Frock Serenaders jam at Bellingen Golf Club

More information at

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