The Newcastle Jazz Festival has remained popular and attracted people from all over Australia and even New Zealand because it offers ‘something for everyone’ with a wide choice of various jazz styles, some blues, swing, big bands, and orchestras.
The first Newcastle festival was held in September 1988 as part the NSW Bicentennial Festival of Music and was organised by The Newcastle Jazz Action Society. The festival featured American jazz singer Topsy Chapman and English clarinettist Sammy Rimington.
The program for the first festival records that the Friday night of the festival was at the Newcastle Tattersall’s Club which was then in Watt Street with the music beginning at 7.30pm and finishing at 3.00am!
On Saturday morning, there was a Jazz Street Parade from Pacific Park to Civic Park via Hunter Street. After the parade the jazz fans continued listening to music at the Newcastle City Hall with finishing times of 3.00am on Saturday and 12.30am on Sunday. There must have been a lot of tired jazz people on Monday morning!