Members of the Morning after the Night Before band playing at the Bellingen Golf Club during the Bellingen Jazz Festival.
Members of the Morning after the Night Before band playing at the Bellingen Golf Club during the Bellingen Jazz Festival. Leigh Jensen

Rain doesn't dampen spirits

RAIN which swept across the Coffs Coast from Saturday evening onwards thinned crowds at Bellingen’s 22nd Jazz Festival.

Festival co-ordinator Brett Iggulden said although audience numbers had been well down, musically the weekend had been a triumph “despite the best efforts of natural forces to wipe us off the map”.

“People liked the program and the way it was put together, but the rain was chucking down from 6pm on Saturday and at 6am yesterday it looked like local flooding, so we had to pull the picnic,” he said.

“Friday was great and Saturday was absolutely fantastic – we had more than 100 kids in bands plus their parents at the markets.

The 10 groups of Jazz Picnic performers were divided across two different undercover venues on Sunday and performances ran 30 minutes later than advertised to allow musicians and singers to reach their new venues and set up.

Bellingen Memorial Hall and Diggers Tavern were pressed into service again yesterday, with Diggers hosting the Satin Bower Birds, Gajo Guitars, Shottleboppers, Ewan Mackenzie Allstars and Cameron Della Vega.

The Memorial Hall rocked to the sounds of Cope St Parade, Virus, Carol Ralph and Jazz Party, John Brabens, Bris Nighthawks and Flap.

Saturday’s Bellingen Community Markets emerged relatively unscathed from the weather, said market organiser Neil Hamilton.

“We had really good crowds – sometimes people had to dive to the safety of the grandstand roof or under a tree, but the young bands got a magnificent reception,” Mr Hamilton said.

The Bellingen High School Band, the Duvall High School Band from Tamworth and the Time Out Big Band made up of students from St Agnes Parish secondary schools in Port Macquarie, performed at the markets

“The stallholders were happy and there was a really nice vibe,” Mr Hamilton said.

“It seemed like a very successful market.”

Mr Hamilton said looking back over the 22 years the festival has been held in tandem with the markets (running for 31 years), rain had often been a feature of Jazz Festival Sundays.



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