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Outback Jazz needs a hand

Tuesday, 23rd August, 2011

By John Casey

 The future of one of the city’s most important artistic events hinges on the response to a crucial planning meeting tonight.

“Outback and All That Jazz” has become an important date on the BH social calendar since the inaugural event in March 1999 but organisers now need to generate more local input to ensure it continues.

“The time has come where we have to gauge how much interest there is in preserving the event or do we just walk away?” Outback and All That Jazz committee member Peter Harvey said.

“We are hoping that there will be a positive response to the meeting because we need more people to get behind it and commit to putting in some work.

“We have seen in the past what a great event it can be, so I hope there are enough people who get behind it and ensure it continues,” Mr Harvey added.

The event has undergone a number of changes over the years, being re-badged as “Red Desert Live” and extended to a celebration of a range of creative arts to attract a younger audience.

It has been hosted at various locations including The Living Desert and the BH Racecourse and switched from March to September.

Australian jazz and swing legend Don Burrows headlined the inaugural show in 1999 and at its peak the event drew crowds of more than 1000. 

“That just shows what can be achieved if people are prepared to support the committee,” Mr Harvey said.

Other previous performers range from Mental As Anything to James Morrison, Jo Jo Zepp and, most recently, Kate Ceberano in 2010.

“It is an expensive exercise to bring these top-line artists to the city and similar events elsewhere are able to call on government grants or substantial sponsorship from local businesses,” Mr Harvey said.

“Hopefully we will be able to attract the necessary level of financial support to maintain the event because it brings so many advantages.

“Initially the idea was to attract big names and have them conduct workshops and hold classes for the schools as well as headline the show,” Mr Harvey continued.

“We also encourage local performers to take part on the night which provides great experience for Broken Hill talent.”

With more fundraising required to continue the event, Mr Harvey said it was “unlikely” that a 2011 show would be put together.

“We’ll probably look at 2012 now, but that is dependent on enough people attending the meeting, so we need to get that support,” Mr Harvey said.

Anyone interested in supporting the event should meet at Club Legion tonight at 6pm.


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