‘It’s a beautiful time of year in Mildura’. Venue owners, musicians and organisers all say weather will contribute to the Mildura Jazz Food and Wine festival as much as the music, flavours and venues on offer. The festival runs from 31 October to 3 November filling pubs, clubs, wineries and even paddle steamers with the sounds of jazz.
The festival is experiencing something of a resurgence since moving under the umbrella of the active and energetic Arts Mildura – responsible also for Mildura Writers Festival, Murray River International Music Festival and Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival.
The jazz you’ll hear at Mildura Jazz Food and Wine festival will include traditional or ‘classic’ jazz mixed in with a range of more contemporary styles.
According to Jack Thompson, President of the Mildura River City Jazz Club, the locale is perfect. ‘Riverboats and traditional jazz are natural companions’. The Paddle Vessel Mundoo and the Paddle Steamer Melbourne are both running jazz cruises during the festival, tapping into the river’s natural beauty – and with a uniquely local take on the historical riverboat jazz connection.
Maryborough Traditional Jazz Ensemble is a favourite of the festival and Anthony Murphy of Trentham Estate Winery is a fan. Great news then, that they will be playing at the winery on the Sunday. ‘They really get people up and dancing.’ Also playing at the winery will be Peter Hooper Quartet.
An outdoors venue, the winery is an ideal place to head for on the Sunday of the Mildura Jazz, Food and Wine festival, with marquee and umbrellas for shade and plenty of great wine and food on offer.
Stefano de Pieri is well known locally and famous around Australia for his promotion of local Mildura produce through his cooking and restaurant ventures, including the book and TV series A Gondola on the Murray. His establishment Mildura Brewery will host Cope Street Parade – a band of Sydney musicians who love the older style of jazz, and inject it with their enthusiasm for the music. The multi-talented members of this high energy band play originals that reflect their deep appreciation for the roots of jazz, billed as ‘a touch of the old with a glimpse of the new’; it’s music that ‘casts a spell of dance halls and speakeasies while the hot sounds of New Orleans melds with gypsy’.
Stefano is a music lover, with broad tastes that extend across and beyond the spectrum of jazz, including into the more avant garde styles. For him, the Mildura Jazz, Food and Wine festival is ‘all about the senses – relaxing with something good to eat and drink’ with classic jazz a great backdrop that creates an atmosphere. He is involved across the arts in Mildura – when we spoke he was heading out to the launch of Mildura Revisited : Sculptures exhibited 1961-1978. He also takes care to remember the contribution of beer to the festival. ‘Craft beers are doing a lot for Victorian Tourism’. He’s right of course. Perhaps next year it will be the Mildura Jazz Beer Wine and Food Festival. It has a ring to it.
The line-up for the 2014 program includes The Cope Street Parade, Origami, Peter Hooper Quartet, Maryborough Traditional Jazz Ensemble, Double A Jazz, Don Mayne Trio, Grab Ya Cat and Nicola Milan.
Mildura Jazz Food and Wine festival program
Stefano de Pieri online www.stefano.com.au
Trentham Estate Winery www.trenthamestate.com.au
Mildura Paddle Steamers www.paddlesteamers.com.au
Stay in town for the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show held in the week after the festival.