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No reprise for Outback Jazz

Thursday, 25th August, 2011

MEDLEYS: Outback and All That Jazz Chairperson Ann Rogers with the Howard Steer-painted piano which was part of the event’s history. MEDLEYS: Outback and All That Jazz Chairperson Ann Rogers with the Howard Steer-painted piano which was part of the event’s history.

By John Casey

The music has died for BH’s prestigious artistic showcase “Outback and All That Jazz”.

A crucial meeting on Tuesday to gauge interest in the event attracted minimal support and organisers said they were left with no choice but to discontinue with the important musical extravaganza.

“It’s a real shame, but people voted with their feet by not turning up at Tuesday’s meeting,” Chairperson Ann Rogers said yesterday.

“There were just two brave ladies who fronted up at the meeting and one of those helped with organising the previous event (2009) so it was obvious we couldn’t continue,” she added.

Outback and All That Jazz burst on to the BH social calendar in March 1999 headlined by Australian musical legend Don Burrows and at its peak the event attracted over 1000 people to a concert at The Living Desert.

But organisers were left $14,000 out of pocket when poor weather and timing issues (held on the October long weekend) conspired to reduce the crowd to little more than 100 to see Kate Ceberano at the BH Racecourse in 2010.

“Had it not been for the generosity of local businessman Gary Radford who helped pay our bills I could have been facing jail time because of our debts,” Ms Rogers said.

“We have conducted fund raising since that time and I am happy to say we have re-paid the money to Gary, but while we are now debt free we do not have any funds to go on with.

“Given the financial situation and the lack of interest shown at the meeting there is no point in trying to persevere,” Ms Rogers continued.

“There is such a choice of entertainment coming through Broken Hill these days that it seems people have to pick and choose what events they can afford to attend.”

Outback and All That Jazz committee member Peter Harvey lamented the demise of the event because it would deprive the city of sharing the experience of some well-respected Australian performers.

Previous artists who have headlined the event include James Morrison, Jo Jo Zepp and Mental As Anything.

“I remember the night John Morrison (James’ brother) and his 16-piece Big Band which opened the Olympic Games were here and they presented an amazing show to a very appreciative crowd,” Mr Harvey said.

“The event also provided an opportunity for local performers to gain stage experience and it is sad that has been lost.”

 

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