It’s been called the "true American folk music", but when you can find it played enthusiastically in the Australian bush, then we can conclude that Jazz is a truly world-wide phenomenon.
The Wagga Wagga Jazz Festival is now in its 8th year and attracts musicians from all around Australia and the world.
Wagga Wagga (pronounced "wogga wogga"), an Aboriginal name meaning "place of many crows," is one of Australia’s largest inland cities with a population of over 55,000. Wagga, as the locals call it, is at the center point between 4 major cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Canberra.
George Ceely, festival chairman, explains: "The aim of the festival is to be an ongoing contributor to the promotion and development of Jazz in Australia. The festival has grown each year through the presentation and promotion of local, interstate and international exponents of Jazz, from the traditional to the contemporary".
But it’s not always easy organizing a major festival. With around 70 bands and 6 venues operating over 3 days, there’s a lot of work! But one thing has become much easier
Jean Haste schedules the festival timetable. "Up until a couple of years ago, it took 3 people nearly a month to get the scheduling finished," she said. "Many of our musicians are in multiple bands some of them are in up to 7 bands and trying to create a timetable without clashes was very difficult".
They now rely on a software product to work out the optimum timetable with ease. "We no longer have clashes, and our workload has reduced dramatically. Now, one person can produce the schedule in a matter of hours," adds a much relieved Jean.
It’s not surprising that the software, TTMaker, is perfectly suited to scheduling music festivals. The author, Russell Robinson, is a part-time Jazz musician and professional software developer. "At one festival, I watched in disbelief as I saw a musician running up the street with his double bass trying to get to the next venue on time!", Russell said. "As a programmer, I thought ‘there must be a better way’".
One important feature is that you can factor in ‘travel time’ (which automatically allows musicians time to travel between venues). This makes the festival safer and more enjoyable for the bands.
And, technology continues to reduce the workload for the Wagga Festival organizers.
"This year, we’re accepting musician and band registrations directly from our website and importing them automatically into TTMaker," Jean said. "This will make my task even easier I won’t even have to do much typing!"
You can find out more about the Wagga Wagga Jazz Festival from their website: www.waggajazz.org.au
If you’re scheduling a festival, don’t sweat over it, you can benefit from technology the way Wagga has. Visit Root Software at www.rootsoftware.com
for more information.
Australia’s Wagga Wagga Jazz Festival - great music, in a beautiful location, supported by state-of-the-art technology.