Fears that Halls Gap would suffer as a result of losing its iconic jazz festival soon turned to excitement, when news filtered through the tourist town of two new events in the pipeline.
The population of Halls Gap swelled once again for the 30th annual Grampians Jazz Festival, which provided three big days of jazz and other musical entertainment.
While many were pondering over the loss of the festival to Port Fairy in 2017, there were positive vibes around the town with the announcement that Halls Gap would host a jazz, blues and roots festival in October this year, followed by the Grampians Music Festival in February 2017.
The Grampians Music Festival, to be held in Halls Gap on the weekend of February 11-12, will replace the Grampians Jazz Festival.
The Grampians Jazz Festival started with humble beginnings in 1986, when a group of friends gathered for a fun 21st birthday celebration for Warracknabeal woman Jacquie Shaw at Roses Gap.
It has since continued as an annual event. By the end of the fifth Grampians Jazz Reunion in 1991, the number of those attending had outgrown Roses Gap, so it was decided to bring the festival to Halls Gap in 1992.
Since then, the festival has grown from having 14 bands performing in one venue to over 160 bands performing across a variety of venues this past weekend.
As well as the new Grampians Music Festival, Halls Gap will host a jazz, blues and roots festival on the weekend of October 21-23 this year.
Posters throughout the township during the jazz festival asked those attending to register their interest for the event, ensuring their return to the region once again in October.
For many attending at the weekend, including some musicians, it was their first taste of the Grampians Jazz Festival.
They were treated to traditional jazz being played in the streets, set venues and on any patch of grass that was available.
Rebecca Waye was among musicians enjoying their first taste of the festival.
“Just performed at my first jazz festival. Thanks for the back up vocals ladies,” Rebecca said.
Often, the sounds of saxophones, trombones, banjos, trumpets and more instruments were heard to ring out into the early hours of the morning.
One of the highlights once again was the spectacular street parade on Saturday morning, where enthusiasts dressed up and danced as they marched along Grampians Road to the many scheduled venues, while jazz continued to play in the background.