Kiama's three-day Jazz and Blues Festival was hot in more ways than one at the weekend, with thousands of people filling the town’s streets and parks to hear genre-bending sounds.
At yesterday’s all-day concert in Hindmarsh Park, the midday sun forced many spectators to sit under trees for shade. But it didn’t stop them cheering loudly from any patch of shade they could find.
At restaurants and cafes on nearby Terralong Street, young roaming street performers such as Hot Potato! caused a stir.
Publicity co-ordinator Eevi Stein said the festival – now in its 26th year – was more successful than ever and the perfect antidote for Kiama residents after the destructive February tornados that had ripped through the town.
‘‘It’s been a well-timed distraction that certainly takes everyone’s mind off everything,’’ she said.
Ms Stein said one of the biggest drawcards was offbeat Melbourne outfit VulgarGrad, who performed at Kiama Leagues Club with their punky, stomping Russian-gypsy jazz.
‘‘We wanted to find something challenging and confronting – and VulgarGrad have just been a huge hit,’’ she said.
‘‘Every song they sung was in Russian or Polish and people were just up and dancing, so it’s been good to introduce spectators to something new.’’
‘‘We wanted to show people that you really can’t categorise jazz.’’
Other highlights were George Golla, the Ray Beadle Trio and blues guitarist Phil Manning.