A quirky welcome

THE Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival could not have started better and is on track to trounce the record attendance figures of last year.

Warwick Tourism and Events chief executive officer and festival organiser Bev Marston said she was amazed at the amount of media coverage the quirky winter festival had received so far this year.

“The festival has grown even in the last couple of years... last year we estimated (the attendance) at 10,000, we really sort of went all out.”

Last night at the major launch of the festival in a huge marquee in Leslie Park the winners of the tree jumper competition were announced.

The winners from the three sections were Sue Marshman, Gillian and Geoff Knott and Warwick Girl Guides.

Mrs Marston said the street party next week would have a new atmosphere.

“We've asked the businesses along the main street to stay open on the Saturday afternoon,” she said.

“We've also spoken to all the little cafes and restaurants along the main street; we'll be having live music and distributing the jazz musicians to them.

“In previous years we've closed the main street but now we have actually gone back to the beginning and want to build that relationship with the businesses to get them to really be a part of that street party theme.”

Mayor Ron Bellingham reflected on how he had secretly not been too keen on the Jumpers and Jazz festival when the idea began to be thrown around six years ago.

“The art gallery director (at the time) Audrey Hoffmann walked into my office one day and said 'I would like to put some jumpers on trees in winter'. I had enough common sense to keep my mouth shut but I must admit I had some serious reservations about the suggestion,” he joked.

“Another gentleman, Kevin Keogh, walked into the tourism and events office and he said 'you're putting jumpers on trees, why don't you make it jumpers and jazz?'.

“The community and certainly a number of businesses have got behind the whole event and are contributing greatly to the atmosphere in our community.

“Visitors coming into the area are just amazed the community attitude is such and it's just an event that really is a bit quirky but really it's about having fun with our visitors.”

Former Warwick Art Gallery director Audrey Hoffmann, who started the Jumpers and Jazz Festival, was in town yesterday at a workshop and said she was thrilled at how the festival had grown.

“Tourism and events and the art gallery deserve to be congratulated,” she said.

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