The Big Blowout is a three-day celebration of creative and collaborative music making, including ‘pocket-sized’ gigs, artist discussion forums, emerging talent showcases and interactive and immersive concert experiences.

Melbourne's jazz and improvisation festival

Set within the laid back jazz club environment of Lionel’s and Grant Street Theatre, the festival features The Big Blowout, a large-scale participatory music event for aspiring instrumentalists and vocalists.

The festival is also proud to host The Gathering – an annual jazz & improvisation concert established in 2000 as an avenue for emerging artists to collaborate with established performers.

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2016 Festival Program

Friday 23 September

  • Friday6:00 pm
    Festival Launch & Opening Performance
    Event
  • Friday8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
    Chamber Jazz Session: CHV
    Event
  • Friday8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
    Chamber Jazz Session: Palaver
    Event
  • Friday8:00pm - 9:30pm
    Chamber Jazz Session: Stephen & Magnusson Ren Walters Duo
    Event

Saturday 24 September

  • Saturday11:00am - 12:00pm
    The Hang
    Event
  • Saturday2:00 pm
    Pocket Size Concert: Monique Dimattina
    Event
  • Saturday3:00pm
    Pocket Size Concert: Belinda Woods
    Event
  • Saturday3:00 pm
    Pocket Size Concert: Phil Bywater & Bob Sedegreen Duo
    Event
  • Saturday2:45pm - 3:45pm
    The Bright Future: Small Ensemble
    Event
  • Saturday3:00pm - 5:00pm
    Corridor Conversations
    Event
  • Saturday4:00 pm
    Alumni Concert: Geoff Kluke Quartet
    Event
  • Saturday5:30 pm
    Alumni Concert: Andrea Keller's Transients IV
    Event
  • Saturday7:00pm - 8:15pm
    Alex and Nilusha
    Event

Sunday 25 September

  • Sunday12:30pm - 1:30 pm
    The Hang
    Event
  • Sunday1:30pm - 2:30 pm
    Under the Thumb
    Event
  • Sunday2:30pm - 3:30pm
    The Bright Future: Jazz & Improv Guitar Ensemble
    Event
  • Sunday2:00 pm
    Pocket Size Concert: Nick Haywood Colin Hopkins Duo
    Event
  • Sunday2:00 pm
    Pocket Size Concert: Tony Yap Dancer
    Event
  • Sunday3:00 pm
    Pocket Size Concert: 30/70 Trio
    Event
  • Sunday3:00 pm
    Pocket Size Concert: Jex Saarelaht Solo Piano
    Event
  • Sunday3:00pm - 5:00pm
    Corridor Conversations
    Event
  • Sunday4:00pm
    Alumni Concert: Sam Keevers Trio
    Event
  • Sunday5:30 pm
    Alumni Concert: The Fran Swinn Trio
    Event
  • Sunday7:00pm - 9:00pm
    The Big Blowout & Festival Closing Party
    Event

A Message from the Programmer

Welcome to a new chapter in the story of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music: a weekend festival celebrating 42 years of creative music endeavour which started right here in 1974 with the VCA’s music program. I think we can all agree there is a fair bit to celebrate.

Ronny Ferella

It’s a real thrill for me to be asked to program this event. As a music student in Adelaide, the VCA & MCM held an almost mythical place in my mind: it’s a place where one doesn’t just study jazz or classical. My fascination with this place was stoked even further when I moved to Melbourne and became part of the creative music scene.

Melbourne musicians are renowned for having their own thing, a voice, something special to offer. Over time I realised that one of the common factors to many of these musicians is that they have “gone through” the programs here. Now as part of the Faculty’s teaching team I still don’t know exactly what it is we do here, but maybe that’s how it works best.

Music is an immersive experience: jump in and find out what’s right for you. The right temperature, feel, touch, pressure. It is my hope that The Big Blow Out is an opportunity for all of us to engage in the world of music in as many ways as possible.

You can get into some deep listening in different performance spaces; Grant Street Theatre, the jazz club style in Lionel’s Lounge, and the chance to get intimate in some very cosy spaces.

Get inside the head of the creative artist in the “Corridor Conversations” artist-led discussions on a range of topics.

Take charge of the music. Direct an improvising ensemble through the power of text messaging. Witness how ideas are translated from words to sounds and back to ideas.

Be in the band; join the massed orchestra for the festival closing party.

Many thanks to all involved but extra kudos to Rob Vincs, James Hutchinson, Mel Robertson, Leanne Gunnulson and Susan Bird and her team for actually making this happen. Ideas are great, but action is where it’s at.

And above all – enjoy the festival!

Ronny Ferella, Big Blowout Festival Programmer

Getting Here

The Big Blowout Festival will be held at our Southbank Campus, 234 St Kilda Road, Southbank 3006. Entry to Grant Street Theatre and Lionel's Lounge is from Grant Street.

Download our campus map.

Getting to the venue

The Victorian College of the Arts encourages guests to use public transport to attend our events on campus.

For routes travelling along St Kilda Road (numbers 1, 2, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67, 72) you can disembark at Grant Street/Police Memorial (stop 17) for all routes except Route 1. If taking Route 1, disembark at Sturt Street (stop number 17).

Parking

There is limited, paid, on-street parking on the streets around the Southbank campus.

Undercover parking

There is paid undercover parking available at the Arts Centre Melbourne. The car park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Disabled parking

There are four disabled parking spaces along Dodds Street Southbank, each with a four hour restriction. Holders of a Category 1 Disabled Parking Permit are not required to purchase a ticket.

Acknowledgements

The Big Blowout is supported by a generous gift from the Lionel Gell Foundation.

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