Noosa Jazz Festival: All that Jazz!

Image source: Photographer Animalice Photography

From the smooth, sultry sounds of the saxophone to the bright, brassy tones of the trumpet, the rhythmic energy of jazz music is infectious, and 2024 marks 30 soulful years of the Noosa Heads Jazz Club! Jodie Cameron discovers all the toe-tapping, spine-tingling high notes to be heard as part of Noosa’s premier music event – the Noosa Jazz Festival.

Music has the power to instantly transcend the mind and transport us back to a significant moment in time – I remember the first time I heard ‘real’ jazz, I was in New York and when the spontaneous symphony of sounds reverberated through me, I was hooked and I have been ever since.

From New Orleans to Noosa and everywhere in between, jazz music brings together cultures, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds – and the Noosa Jazz Festival guarantees to have you skipping to your own beat over 10 fabulous days!

For over three decades, the Noosa Jazz Club has been a beacon of jazz music in Noosa and this year, they present a program that brings together a stellar line-up of jazz stars, promising a memorable experience set to the backdrop of Noosa’s natural beauty.

Noosa Jazz Club Treasurer, Doug McGuffog said they were excited to celebrate the 30-year milestone with dedicated audiences and partners.

“Our celebration coincides with two other great Noosa not-for-profit organisations – the Tinbeerwah Art Group and Noosa Chorale – who are also celebrating 30 years, so it’s an extra special festival this year,” Doug said.

To celebrate three decades of the dedication and passion of these local organisations, The Joy of Music Exhibition will be held at The J from 1-30 August. And from 22 August until 1 September, the annual Noosa Jazz Festival will again bring together some of Australia’s brightest jazz musicians and food creatives – complete with four Jazz Party sessions at The J Theatre, including two afternoon matinees, two evening concerts, and a special Sunday afternoon concert at the heritage-listed Majestic Theatre in Pomona.

If you’re a first-time festival goer, get ready to feel your jaw drop, because jazz musicians are fascinating to watch! The way they use their instruments to communicate becomes a musical conversation as the musicians develop a language of their own. Jazz has all the elements that other music has: it has melody or the part you’re likely to remember; it has harmony – the notes that make the melody sound fuller; and it has syncopated rhythm, which is pretty much the heartbeat of the song. But what sets jazz apart are two very cool things: improvisation and impromptu solos.

“Jazz can mean different things to different people – from classic jazz to modern jazz, it’s all thoroughly enjoyable, but what the Noosa Heads Jazz Club puts together each year is unique, unlike what you experience at other jazz festivals, and one of the reasons so many people return year after year,” Doug said.

“Our joint concerts with Noosa Chorale combine talented vocalists with some of Australia’s top jazz musicians, making for a stunning musical event. Noosa is spectacular all year round, but there’s something about jazz during winter – under the open ambient skies, it’s absolutely delightful.”

Founded on 25 October 1994, the Noosa Heads Jazz Club was born with Richard Stevens appointed as Chairman, Janet Uphill as Secretary and Patsy Stevens as Treasurer. The administration and management of the Club was then handed over to a Steering Committee, with Richard and the late Frank Johnson appointed to organise the operations and music for the first function; they were pivotal in staging the first ever Noosa Jazz Party in 1992!

More than thirty years on, it’s still the stand-out event of the festival. Kicking off the 2024 festival is the opening night joint concert featuring the Australian Jazz Ensemble and the Noosa Chorale on 22 August at The J Theatre. Under the musical direction of Paul Coppens, you’ll be enthralled by a selection of jazz favourites, along with the unique combination of seventy Chorale voices and the Jazz Ensemble led by jazz legend Brett Iggulden.

The centrepiece of the 11-day program is the Noosa Jazz Party, also at The J.  This is a unique event that challenges the individually invited jazz musicians who are formed into bands or ensembles that guarantee thrilling improvisation of traditional jazz. The concert program includes a special tribute to the music of Louis Armstrong, featuring members of The Syncopators with Yvette Johansson, and also Gypsy Jazz extraordinaries – the Date brothers with Ian and Nigel on guitar, and George Washingmachine on violin.

As well as the river cruise program and theatre concerts, you can enjoy lazy jazzy lunches and divine dinners at riverside restaurants, bars and outdoor venues including Lucio’s Marina Restaurant, Tewantin; Miss Moneypenny’s on Hastings Street; the Noosa Boathouse at Noosaville; a special sunset experience at Noosa Springs Golf & Spa Resort; and a Saturday afternoon gig at Trattoria Benati in Noosa Junction.

The festival wraps up on Father’s Day, Sunday 1 September, with the traditional family picnic concert, at The Lions Riverstage along the Noosa River. Early bird prices and member discounts will be available for bookings made before 1 August for the Jazz Party concerts at The J Theatre and the special concert at The Majestic Theatre, Pomona.

Whether it’s a cruise along the river, a theatre performance or a family riverside picnic on the banks of the Noosa River, nothing beats jazz in Noosa, and this musical extravaganza will no doubt linger in your hearts and minds for decades and generations to come!

To explore the official program, sign up to receive the latest updates on the final lineup of bands and ensembles for the concerts and restaurant events and to book tickets to the Noosa Jazz Festival, visit

About the Author /

Jodie is a city-turned-country-turned-coastal chick. With a degree in Journalism & PR and a passion for pulling together events with flair. Her 15+ years’ experience is diverse (including launching a macadamia nut farm)! In her spare time, she’s beachside with her two tiny treasures and furry love Staffy x Red Cattle dog, Rudi.

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