Play time for Kiama Jazz & Blues Festival

The Kiama Jazz & Blues Festival will officially take over the town this weekend.

The event covers a broad musical spectrum, including jazz, blues, swing, roots, boogie, gypsy, rumba, rag and honky tonk.

Festival director Ross Eggleton said the event was a lot bigger this year.

"There's a lot more bands - we've gone from 50 performers last year to more than 60 this year," he said.

"There's a massive variation to suit all tastes.

"I think we're getting the message out that jazz and blues and associated tributaries of music are appealing to younger audiences as well, which has been one of the main goals of the festival."

Eggleton's suggestions for "can't miss" acts throughout the weekend were Shirazz, the Jeff Duff Band, Fiona Boyes and the Adrian Cunningham Quartet.

Multi-instrumentalist and ABC Illawarra personality Nick Rheinberger will also perform at the festival.

The Nick Rheinberger Band, which features his daughter on backing vocals, will perform at the Little Blowhole Cafe from 4pm-6pm on Saturday.

"The amazing thing is it basically takes over the town - the town really embraces it and everything's free," Rheinberger said.

"The variety of music that they get ... Kiama in itself is an amazing hotbed of musical talent.

"There's something in the water at Kiama High as well.

"They make me feel old and inadequate most of the time.

"I like the cross-pollination, people turning up at each other's gigs and playing along."

Rheinberger also name-checked Boyes ("an amazing blues player") and Tommy M and the Mastersounds as acts to check out.

One of the members of Tommy M and the Mastersounds, Kiama's Joe Mungovan, praised the event.

Mungovan is almost a veteran of it by now.

Mungovan, 19, will perform as drummer/vocalist for Tommy M and the Mastersounds, as well as a solo set armed with just his voice and a guitar.

He was also a regular attendee before playing at the festival.

"I just like the fact you can walk down the street and there's such a wide variety of music you can listen to," he said.

"The vibe that's around the whole town at the time is great.

"A lot of people come here just for the music.

"I think it's [the festival] getting much more popular with young people."

Mungovan suggested punters check out Rheinberger and James Vann throughout the weekend.

The festival starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday. It will go ahead, rain, hail or shine.

For more information, visit the website.

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