Cope Street Parade
Cope Street Parade

Get set for Bellingen Jazz Fest

WINTER is coming to an end - and the 23rd Bellingen Jazz Festival is on hand to shake us loose. 

August 17-19 will bring with it the high gloss and low brass of the festival.  

We spoke to several bands on the line up to bring you this handy festival guide.   

For tickets and times, go to

Cope Street Parade

"Can't wait," singer and saxophonist Justin Fermino said of his trip up to the Bellingen Jazz Festival. "Great festival - good friends and lots and lots of tasty beers."  

Their Jazz Fest visit comes at an interesting time for Cope Street Parade, between the end of recording sessions for their new album, but prior to the actual release.   

"You can expect entirely original compositions," Justin said.  

"Lots of guest artists like Eamon McNelis (of Flap!) - even a small cameo from our good friends Bellyache Ben and the Steamgrass Boys doing a nice little three-part harmony to one of our tunes."  

In a jazz scene as tight as Cope Street Parade's home town of Sydney, it seems far easier for musicians to collaborate rather than openly compete.    

"You've got to love it," Justin said.   

"It's a bit tough sometimes when you sit back and look at everything knowing that society these days doesn't value what you're doing as much as AFL or McDonalds. But I like both of those things too, I guess."  

Gleny Rae Virus

Even before the first chord, Gleny Rae Virus and her Tamworth Playboys exude a mystery only otherwise found in a Vegas lounge at midnight.  

Gleny Rae's story is part glamour, part horror and all mystery: her early years were spent learning essential skills such as skinning rabbits with one hand, cooking home-made sausages on a plough disk and riding horses under low hanging creek branches.   

In 2006, she invited the Tamworth Playboys along for the ride. Armed with fiddle and squeezebox, they became regular faces at folk festivals and ute musters with their songs are heavily influenced by 1940's and 50's Americana with a distinctly Australian narrative slant.   

The Admiral's Own Swing Band 

It's not all about marches and reveilles: the Admiral's Own Swing Band features 18 of the Australian Navy's top jazz and big band musicians performing in a range of styles from the traditional swing era through to contemporary big band music.   

They've performed for audiences throughout Australia, including countless jazz festivals, public functions and navy occasions.  

We're betting they'll be the best dressed at the whole festival.  

Bellingen High School Jazz Band   

These super talented school students know how to swing.  

Under the expert tutelage of music teacher Anne Phelan, the band is a testament to the local education system and proof positive that rock'n'roll is good for you.   


Hailing from southern Queensland, Laique are purveyors of hot swing with a twist of mischevious charm.  

According to the band itself, this is wine without the glass and murder without the guilt; it's the swinging twenties without prohibition and lust without the phone numbers.   

French manouche, street beats and tango created by Gerard Mapstone (guitar, banjo), Michael Patterson (violin), Samuel Vincent (bass) and Will Eager (drums), falls in line behind frontwoman Kylie Southwell. 

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