Never Really a Darling

Trevor Watts Hothouse, Chicago hi res
Trevor Watts, a star of the 2012 festival.

Much outrage has followed the announcement that The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority is scrapping the annual Darling Harbour Jazz Festival in June. That outrage is justified in the context of the replacement entertainment apparently being a light show. Two rallies today will bring together many musicians to protest the decision.

But if the festival is to be saved, it should also be improved. This partially happened with the addition of a giant marquee in the 2012 edition, ensuring there was an escape from the winter weather for both audiences and performers on one stage. Nonetheless the idea of an outdoor festival on the June long weekend was always fraught with danger from the elements, and even when the weather was kind, the listening environment was seldom ideal for any stage.

I don’t understand why the event never included indoor, ticketed performances in the adjacent Convention Centre and/or Exhibition Centre. This would not only have negated the weather and acoustic problems, but have generated some revenue to help pay for the festival – and I presume money lies at the heart of the decision to scrap it. So let’s not just save the festival, but make it better.