Great vibes in the park

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Festival Of Jazz & Blues - BY STEVE KELLY skelly@ ne­me­dia.com.au

ALTHOUGH the streets were bare around cen­tral Wangaratta over the week­end it was a dif­fer­ent story at Mer­riwa Park with the free stage of the jazz and blues fes­ti­val work­ing well to build on the blues vibe.

It was the first time the blues and free stage both took oc­cu­pancy of the park, and in­door venues along Ford Street were also well at­tended.

Mu­si­cal pro­gram­mer and renowned mu­si­cian Adam Sim­mons said “it’s been great and a win” with “much greater co­he­sion” at the con­sol­i­dated venue of Mer­riwa Park.

The park was such a hit last year the pro­gram­ming team de­cided to make it the prime venue al­low­ing all streets in Wangaratta to re­main open through­out the week­end – a set up very dif­fer­ent to pre­vi­ous years.

“Num­bers seemed greater than last year with ticket sales up as of Fri­day, the venues were fuller and ev­ery­one was re­laxed and hav­ing a ball,” he said.

“For two years peo­ple have been telling us they want fresh ex­pe­ri­ences and new mu­sic – they’re up for it.

“It was good that lo­cal and re­gional mu­si­cians were vis­i­ble at the Mer­riwa Park venue as artists in the past have given feed­back that it’s ex­tremely hard to get a gig at the fes­ti­val.

“St Pat’s church of­fered pa­trons a free taste of the mu­sic and the hall had a licensed venue this year and there was a good vibe at the packed house.”

While Mr Sim­mons ad­mit­ted that it has been tough since the for­mer event man­age­ment team re­signed he said next year’s 30th an­niver­sary will be some­thing to look for­ward to.

“We will re­ally look to at­tract more in­ter­na­tional artists next year and the artis­tic team will look back at the his­tory of the fes­ti­val.”

With the fes­ti­val mov­ing off the streets in 2018, the pro­gram­ming team will be ex­tra keen to get feed­back from those who at­tended and what they liked and dis­liked about this year’s event.

BEAU­TI­FUL BLUES: Anna Scionti and her gui­tar got the Blues Mar­quee rock­ing on Satur­day morn­ing.

RE­LAX­ING IN THE PARK: There was plenty of shade and great places to re­lax in Mer­riwa Park, which de­lighted Wangaratta res­i­dents (from left) Anna and So­phie Pa­ton.

MAG­I­CAL MAR­KET: There was a con­stant stream of peo­ple me­an­der­ing through the stalls with their wide va­ri­ety of of­fer­ings at yes­ter­day’s Sun­day Mar­ket in Mer­riwa Park.

PHO­TOS: Mel Guy

COM­MU­NITY BEAT: Boweya Blues Re­vival were among the dozen or so bands to en­ter­tain the crowd at the Wangaratta Mo­tor Group Com­mu­nity Stage across the week­end.

PARK TUNES: The Vin­cent Road Band wel­comed pa­trons as they made their way into Mer­riwa Park on Satur­day.

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