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Perth's biggest weekend of jazz en route to Busselton

Swing dancers on the dance floor of The Rechabite
Swing dancers. Photo by Ewa Ginal-Cumblidge

Perth International Jazz Festival’s (PIJF) 2021 program is bigger than ever with added free community events and an expansion into Busselton on Saturday 13 November – proving everyone loves experiencing live music in WA’s COVID-free bubble!

Following the festival weekend in Perth (from November 5-7), PIJF hits the road for its new ‘On Tour’ series and first stop is a day of swingin’ jazz at the Busselton Amphitheatre on the Foreshore – a free event for the local community.

This year’s PIJF ‘On Tour’ will offer world-class jazz from WA’s finest spanning swing to modern jazz and traditional New Orleans as well as a dedicated stage set up for swing dancing. You’re invited to the Foreshore to make a day of it – bring a rug and a picnic and/or treat yourself to the local delights from the food offerings in the area, as well as craft beer and wine from PIJF hospitality partner, Rocky Ridge Brewing Co.

Following a Welcome to Country at 1pm, The Love Rats will take the stage. They’re a 5-piece with a deep musical connection spanning over 10 years after living and studying together at the prestigious James Morrison Academy of Music under the tutelage of some of Australia’s more renowned jazz musicians. For this performance they’ll be featuring the full history of jazz music – from the intricate to the high-energy for an unmissable show.

Saxophonist and composer Gemma Farrell will bring her original and much lauded Gemma Farrell Quintet to give Busselton audiences a preview of new tunes to be recorded later in the year. It follows on from the Quintet’s first album Organised Chaos (2018), which was nominated for ‘Best Instrumental Jazz Album’ at the 2019 Australian Jazz Bell Awards and the track Be Like Abraham nominated for ‘Best Jazz Work of the Year’.

The OZ Big Band is a 17-piece musical feast for your ears. They’ve been performing in Australia since the ‘80s and are one of the country’s most sought after dance bands – touring nationally at least seven times in the past 10 years. On the mic, vocal extraordinaire, Leah Guelfi will lead the big band through many of our favourite big band bangers and Lindy Hop hits from past and present, as well as some special treats for Busselton audiences.

And to close out the day at 5pm, one of Perth’s leading jazz vocalists Libby Hammer will perform with her beloved musical collaborators, Libby Hammer Quartet featuring Chris Foster (piano), Nick Abbey (double bass) and Michael Perkins (drums) for an entertaining repertoire plucked from the highest boughs of the jazz orchard that’ll be a closing set of jazz par excellence.

PIJF’s first event in Busselton will help to fill the gap left by the popular Jazz By The Bay, which made the difficult decision to discontinue its operations earlier this year. The Busselton day of jazz is the first stage in PIJF’s regional expansion tour following their running of the annual three-day jazz festival in the CBD of Perth and Northbridge since 2013. This not-for-profit has presented eight consecutive festivals and are working towards their 10th anniversary in 2022.

The festival founder, Associate Professor Graham Wood (PhD), was a driving force in the WA music scene for 30 years. He led the festival until his untimely passing in 2017. Dr Mace Francis was appointed Festival Director in 2017 and has presented the last three jazz festivals.

PIJF’s expansion into the south-west comes off the back of a federal RISE grant for $612k to guarantee delivery of the 2021 and 2022 Festivals and a committed expansion into regional WA.

“The RISE fund will finally, after almost 10 years, enable us to employ staff to take on much of the heavy lifting throughout the year, while also expanding the Perth focused festival and to take PIJF ‘On Tour’ into WA’s regional south and north,” says Festival Director Dr Mace Francis.

“This is an absolute game changer for PIJF and one that we are very thankful for. We can’t wait to get to know the south-west community and we hope to bring world-class jazz to the City of Busselton for many years to come.”

PERTH INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL 2021 FREE EVENT When: Saturday 13 November, 1pm to 6pm Where: Busselton Amphitheatre, Busselton Foreshore What: Live performances from The Love Rats, Gemma Farrell Quintet, OZ Big Band, Libby Hammer Quartet

For more info go to:


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