The recent Australian Jazz Convention held in Ballarat boosted the economy by more than $1.5 million, according to the city’s mayor.
The surprise boost came after the city was transformed into the country’s jazz capital for a six-day event from Boxing Day. The 70th convention featured some of the country’s finest jazz performers as well as many up and coming performers, at a series of venues and locations across the city. Many venues allowed jazz musicians to play for free and there decision paid off, with more than 600 people flocking to the city to see the diverse range of live music acts.
Ballarat mayor Des Hudson said the festival was a roaring success with people from as far as London, Ireland and Switzerland travelling to Ballarat to attend the convention. He hoped Ballarat would become the permanent fixture on the city’s calendar.
He said discussions were already underlay for next year’s convention with plans to offer patrons package deals to encourage them to not only stay in Ballarat but also visit the city’s attractions including Sovereign Hill. Hotels and accommodation were booked out across Ballarat as jazz enthusiasts spent the week soaking up the festival.
The smooth and sizzling sounds of an eclectic mix of trumpets, saxophones, clarinets could be heard from across the heart of the city, as the annual New Orleans style Street Parade kicked off along Lydiard Street on December 28.
Cr Hudson said the post Christmas and New Year Period was a traditionally quiet time of the year, but the festival drew people to the city.
“People are generally a little flat following the Christmas period so the vibrant festival opens up an opportunity for people to be out and about experiencing a whole range of genres of jazz and blues,” Cr Hudson said. “It brings vibrancy and culture to the city and showcases all of what Ballarat has to offer including it’s cafes, restaurant and live music venues.” The event drew 178 bands and more than 450 musicians to the city. The style of jazz ranged from the classic century-old New Orleans styles to more modern variations.
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