Band of volunteers set stage for festival

Generations in Jazz might have had a two-year hiatus but the work has not stopped behind the scenes for the dedicated tribe of volunteers who are progressing plans for its long-awaited return in 2022.

The nation’s biggest school jazz event will return to Mount Gambier on May 6-8, 2022 in a COVID-safe environment to ensure the participation of more than 150 schools who attend. Event coordinator Karyn Roberts said the GIJ board was looking forward to making some big announcements about the awards and guest artists over the coming months, detailing who will share the stage with students at next year’s festivities.

“Whilst the past two years have been challenging as we navigated the ever-changing rules of the pandemic, it has provided us time to reflect and take a closer look at the event, exploring areas for improvement to ensure it continues to meet, and aim to surpass, school and audience expectations,” Mrs Roberts said.

This includes some on-site additions at the Big Top site to improve event logistics thanks to a group of volunteers affectionately known as the “band of merry men”. The talented craftsmen, largely local retired men from Mount Gambier, have dedicatedly converted former shipping containers over recent months into modern warm-up spaces to ensure participants have a comfortable, warm and soundproof location to prepare before going on stage.

Another has been altered to assist with site storage. Work has also started on a new stand-alone ticket office near the main car park, neighbouring the Big Top, to fast-track public ticket purchases and free up administration space for event coordinators in the existing office. “We are extremely grateful for the dedicated efforts of our hardworking site volunteers, coordinated by Greg Muller, who are assisting us to take our event to the next level,” Mrs Roberts said.

“We call this group the ‘band of merry men’ because they generously spare hundreds of hours working behind the scenes throughout the year, rain, hail or shine, to ensure our event infrastructure is ready to cater for the thousands of participants who will flood through the gates next May. “Without these people, events like Generations in Jazz simply would not occur. “It takes a huge community effort and we thank each and every one of them for their generous support.”

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