Brisbane Big Band Festival

Jazz on full power

20 bands, 350 musicians and 4 nights of swinging sound.

If jazz bands were cars, big bands would be the V8s. There’s a big difference between a regular 8-piece jazz band and an 18-piece big band. Big bands create a majestic sound that gets into your bones and gives you gooseflesh. It fills the room.

Big Band Benefits

Savour a variety of jazz flavours. Big bands aren’t limited to one genre. You’ll hear Latin jazz, the standard classics of the 30s and 40s, original compositions and—heck, we’ve even had heavy metal, big band style.

Indulge in a wealth of sound – trumpets, saxes, trombones, piano, bass, drums and guitar, topped with a vocalist. Big band music teases out every instrument’s moment to shine. How often do you hear the alto, tenor and baritone sax in one band? Or four trumpets harmonising with each other?

Meet jazz greats like:

  • John Morrison, once voted Australia’s best big band drummer
  • Jackie Cooper, acclaimed jazz and big band singer
  • Both are regular patrons of this festival. During the festival, they generously provide mentoring, critiques on performances and workshops.

The program

In September each year, this festival hosts:

  • Five shows, each featuring four participating bands, over four days.
  • Workshops for musicians and vocalists, held by renowned big band musicians.
  • You won’t easily get to hear 80+ musicians in one place on a night out anywhere else.
  • But it only happens once a year.

Who is the festival for?

Do you love a fully charged atmosphere where the sound gets into your veins? Are you a regular on the big band scene? Do you want to experience a slice of jazz from its origins?
Then this is an event you’ll want to mark in your calendar.