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'Floor-to-ceiling' Crowds

'Floor-to-ceiling' Crowds

What: Newcastle Jazz Festival
When: Wednesday August 18, 1999

SIX hundred interstate visitors and 240 day-trippers aboard the 3801 Steam Train on Saturday were among the 4,500 fans of jazz music who converged on Newcastle at the weekend.

The 12th ANNUAL NBN TELEVISION NEWCASTLE JAZZ FESTIVAL at Newcastle City Hall was an unmitigated success according to organisers at the NEWCASTLE JAZZ CLUB. Festival organiser VAL JONES said the club was 'pleasantly surprised with the number' which attended this year's festival, between Friday night and Sunday evening.

'All (five) rooms (at the city hall) were filled to capacity for the majority of the time,' she said.

'We had floor-to-ceiling people most days, apart from late Sunday when a lot of the people were packing up to go home.'

She named the NEW MELBOURNE JAZZ BAND as a highlight, along with the HUNTER SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS COMMUNITY BAND 'who received a standing ovation they were so good'.

The club's immediate past president MAGGIE DUNNE, who attended the event, said the event seemed to be 'getting bigger and bigger every year'.

The jazz festival, with music as diverse as swing, traditional and big band jazz bands, featured Hunter groups such as FISH FRY, LITTLE TOOT, MARYVILLE JAZZ BAND, OLDE GOLDE, PORT HUNTER and MELANGE. These groups mixed it up with interstate bands such as the ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BIG BAND, MATT BAKER TRIO WITH EMMA PASK and GEORGE WASHING MACHINE'S SWEET ATMOSPHERE. For the first time this year a free concert was held at Wheeler Place on Sunday, which came back from a wet start as a highlight attraction.

Ms Dunne said the 'most spectacular' event was the Sunday morning jazz gospel breakfast featuring singer FRANCINE BELL. 'The concert room was packed upstairs and down for that one,' she said.

Ms Dunne said the event continued to attract visitors from interstate, largely through word of mouth.

'We had so many people coming from interstate saying they'd hear from their friends how good it was and that they'd definitely be coming back,' she said. TE

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