Inaugural Jazz Festival welcomes big names of Jazz

…to the grounds of Gleniffer Brae at Wollongong Botanic Garden


The Wollongong Conservatorium of Music will host it’s first ever jazz festival on it’s picturesque location at Botanic Garden. Building on over 20 years of hosting world-class musicians and providing renowned jazz education to the Illawarra, WollCon will bring some of the nation’s biggest names in jazz to Wollongong for a full day’s celebration of food, coffee and most importantly, amazing music.

“WollCon is known throughout Australia for presenting jazz at all levels, from young kids just learning to improvise, to the newcomers on the scene fresh out of uni, and to the established Australian legends and the internationally recognised musicians from America, Japan, and Europe.”

Eric Dunan

Head of Jazz Program, WollCon

“Presenting a day long festival is really the next logical step.” He adds.  “It’s a chance to combine all the things we are known for into one big, beautiful day of music and friendship.” As Dunan sees it, the unique characteristic of the WollCon jazz program is that musicians of all levels can see themselves as part of one big musical family.

The festival line-up is stacked with multi-generational talent. American drummer/percussionist and recent WollCon faculty addition, Chris Fields (below), will lead his Afro-Indian Jazz-Collective with saxophone legend Sandy Evans (OAM) and her old band mate from The Catholics, trombone icon James Greening up front.

Chris Fields

The star-studded group will also feature Jan Rutherford Award winner and recent Freedman Fellowship nominee, Lucy Clifford on bass as well as South Indian percussion master, Pirashanna Thevaraja. Stuart Vandergraaff (woodwinds) and Dominic Kirk (Cuban percussion) make up this mega ensemble that will surely be one of the highlights of the day.

Melbourne bassist Tamara Murphy will take a break from touring with the likes of Kate Miller-Heidke, Ali McGregor and Paul Grabowsky to lead her genre bending quartet, Spirograph Studies, which fuses post-rock, minimalism and neo-classical musical styles into a compelling mix.

Jazz legend Sandy Evans will pull double duty as she plays with rising star pianist and WollCon faculty member, Freyja Garbett and her ‘Music from the Waves’ project to close the festival. The multi-movement suite combines Garbett’s two great loves: musical improvisation and surfing.

“Having Australian legends like Sandy and James as well as some of the younger, cutting-edge musicians like Tamara and Freyja alongside all our student musicians mentoring the next generation of jazz musicians is really special. It’s going to be an amazing day!”

Eric Dunan

David Theak will lead the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Jazz Orchestra as the Festival’s opening act.
The flagship 18-piece ensemble of the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Program boasts some very talented musicians and has produced some of the most renowned jazz musicians in the country over its 50 year history.

Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra

The festival will also highlight the next generation of jazz stars with performances from Sydney’s Jazz Workshop Australia, local student groups from Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, Smith Hill High School and all ensembles from the award winning WollCon Jazz Program.

Sunday 17th September, 11am-5pm
Wollongong Conservatorium of Music
Tickets: $15 – $35

Jazz Festival artwork