You know how the saying goes: “Sun’s out, drums out….unless it’s pouring rain in which case the drums are out anyways but accompanied by a whole plethora of other musical devices”. What’s that? That’s not how the saying goes? Sorry, you have been tragically misled then, because I’m pretty sure that’s what they say. At least, that’s what everyone who braved the rain to attend the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival would say.
The sound of jazz music could be heard streets away as I parked my car and proceeded to stroll down to the festival dressed like a Bering Sea fisherman trying to hold my umbrella in one hand and taking pictures with the other. I was pleased to see that despite the less than ideal weather the turnout for the event was actually quite good. This can only be a reflection of the immense talent to make an appearance, and innate ability of that smooth, sexy saxophone to lure in even the fair-weather ducks.
I arrived just as the group called Silk Road Music – an inter cultural mix of styles – was finishing up their performance on the main stage. Their eclectic and truly sound of Chinese, Spanish, and Jazz music was the perfect entrance as I was met by an excited and crowd of people all huddled together out of the rain under various tents. Everyone took turns attending to the vital job of poking the undersides of the tents to ensure the accumulating puddles of water didn’t douse any people (or instruments!) with an unwanted shower. Thankfully we had a few stilt walkers to keep an eye on the skies, and provide a truly authentic Sunshine Coast feeling.
Also on the main stage was the Daniel Brubeck quartet. Name sound familiar? Well, that’s because Daniel’s father, Dave Brubeck, is one the most famous and well-known jazz musicians of his time. Turns out, like-father like-son, because Daniel and his group turned out to be quite the crowd-pleasers! Watching a musician become so enthralled in their craft that they stop playing the music and the music starts playing them is one of my favourite sights to behold, and such was the case for all members of the Danial Brubeck quartet. For the entire time they held the stage it was like the rain didn’t exist. All that existed was the sweet rhythm…
Speaking of the music playing the musician, I have perhaps never seen this so personified as when I watched The Carnival Band take the stage. I am inclined to believe that the rain only came down harder during their performance because it wanted to be closer to the magic. I was lucky enough to attend their concert at the Legion later that night as well, and all I can say is that what I saw there that night is life at its fullest, in as many forms as there were feathers on the boa of the trombone player. The evening concluded with the best surprise I could have never imagined. The extraordinary sousaphone player allowed me the honour of playing the final song with the band, the ultimate highlight!
The final day of the festival saw the sky clear up and the crowd grow in numbers. Visitors and locals – including a few furry friends – showed up with their lawn chairs to lounge on the hillside overlooking the marina while the Creek Big Band and their special guests “Definitely Diva” serenaded the eager audience. The sweet harmonies of the Divas, accompanied by the ever-lovely and talented Big Band, had the crowd bumpin’ in their loungers. So, despite the deluge and the tent puddles and the dangerous wildlife, the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival was a raving success. All of the invited musicians had the well-deserved chance to showcase their immense talent, and it was apparent that their audience was supremely grateful. This is what I love about music. It doesn’t care what you look like, where you come from, what colour your rainboots are or whether your idea of dancing is simply running around with a grand ole smile on your face. Music erases the differences between us.
The Sunshine Coast is a vibrant destination, and there is always something new and exciting to experience. You can drive five minutes down the highway and see something completely different. And at events such as the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival, you can walk five seconds in the other direction and hear something, see something, experience something different. So whether you are a local, a visitor, or a member of the local wildlife, be sure to check out the many events the Coast has to offer! Memories await you.
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