Music in the Gardens

It was a sad moment when the last Music in The Gardens concert finished on 23 February 2014.  We had enjoyed beautiful sunny weather with a light breeze.  Families had spread their rugs and food and drinks were served, while 'fairies' and others danced to the lively music of the Hip Cats.   It was the end of an era and the best way to go out. 

During the 2014 season, the musicians had again played to please the families spread out on the green lawn in the shade of the great Bunya trees.  These concerts have entertained the wider Geelong community for more than fourteen years.  From very small events in the early years, they have grown to capacity crowds of 800 people, when the weather has been kind.  It is sad that the Friends have had to decide that this is the last concert season that we can offer.  Our costs have risen steeply in recent years (totalling more than $16,000 in 2014) and the required documentation has also increased greatly.  All of this has been the responsibility of the Friends.  It has become unmanageable for a volunteer group.

We would like to sincerely thank the community for supporting our wonderful 'Music in the Gardens' seasons.  Also, our thanks to the staff of the Gardens for their assistance, and our truly amazing volunteers, without whom we would not have had a single concert.  We are, in the end, victims of our own success.


Hip Cats

HIP CATS focus on 50’s music culture from grassroots to popular 50’s, through to the smoother crossovers of Swing and Rhythm and Blues with a touch of Rockabilly.
They use electric and acoustic guitars, double ‘slap’ bass, stand up drummer, saxophone and harmonica, with all the ‘Cats’ singing.

The band brings the fifties to life through their music, original 1950’s instruments and clothes, right down to their ‘crazy’ Rocco shoes.

They released their first CD “Seven Nights To Rock” in 2000 and followed that up with their second, “Rip It Up”, in 2010.

HIP CATS have been on the scene for more than 20 years and played many big shows such as Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Mortlake Buskers Festival and many other 50’s rock & roll shows in Melbourne (Malvern Town Hall) and regional Victoria.

Hot Club Swing

Hot Club Swing’s unique style of French Gypsy Jazz is alive and well; music originating in the 1930s but still thriving in the 21st century. The group draws its influences from an exotic palate of music from Latin America, Swing and Eastern Europe, painting on a canvas that can be eloquently French, starkly rustic or darkly and romantically gypsy.

The quintet features: Ben Calderazzo (leader/guitar); Phil Smurthwaite (violin); Rob Gador (double bass); Jeremy Bourke (rhythm guitar), and Nadine Joy (vocals) and is inspired by the original masters, Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli with influences from more modern groups such as Latcho Drom & Bireli Lagrene.

Having played together for over 15 years, some notable performances include: Port Fairy Music Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, the 53rd National Jazz Convention, Boite World Music Café, Oz Manouche and the 2005 charity CD Waterfront Christmas for United Way.

Hot Club Swing has released two albums, Musique du Jour (2002) and Sacré Cœur (2005), both gaining regular airplay on 3PBS FM, 3MBS FM and ABC Radio 774 and various other jazz radio shows.

As a result of many showcase performances, the group has built a dedicated and diverse audience, which is always eager to return to experience this captivating music. The group has also been featured at various corporate and private functions, as well as concert settings and festivals, bringing a certain joie de vivre!

Hot Club Swing are currently producing their long-awaited third album, due June 2013.

“Hot Club Swing capture a warm, swinging all-string sound taking audience hearts and imaginations captive….the band’s intuitive and empathic interplay is a feature of their live set.” The Age.

Luke Legs

The much-buzzed Geelong based folk band, Luke Legs & the Midnight Specials, have acquired a cult following for their relatable storytelling of life and love set against the unique backdrop of country and metropolitan Australia, echoing the legendary Paul Kelly.

Their live performances feature family-band style harmonies, folk instrumentation, storytelling, and highly acclaimed depth of lyricism, to which singer Luke Legs was awarded Artist of the Year in the 2012 Unpaved Reader awards.

Since releasing their debut album in 2012, "Why Oh Why (My Caroline)" the band have gone on to complete a 32 date sell-out national tour which included shows alongside Xavier Rudd, You am I and Jordie Lane, and have also been invited to perform at major national festivals such as Port Fairy Folk Festival, St Kilda Festival, and Queenscliff Music Festival.

The band has begun work on their much anticipated sophomore album, due for release in Easter 2014.

Soul Sister Swing

Soul Sister Swing are excited to be asked back to perform at Music in the Gardens in 2014. Gail Lambert with sisters Gayle Burrill and Linda Allen are renowned for their gorgeous harmonies, sassy style and great sense of fun and they hope you enjoy listening to their music as much as they will enjoy performing for you. They will be backed by the fabulous Gary Tigani on keyboards and vocals, Greg Gosbell on drums and Steve Hobbs on bass.


The Evening Cast

Proclaimed as ‘Absolutely extraordinary’ by Clare Bowditch, Victorian Indie/Pop Band The Evening Cast have just come off the back of a Sell Out EP Launch, and highly successful Headline National Tour. Their EP LAKE has gained much praise, along with their live sets being defined as ‘Endearing stage presence, wonderful vocals and solid musicianship’ (Tonedeaf Blog) along with 'Seriously Fabulous and Buzzing’ (Penny Philipps – Oh! Hello).

Recent support slots for the likes of Youngblood Hawke, Oh Mercy and Clare Bowditch validate The Evening Cast as an exciting, in demand live act. Bursting vibrancy and colour, The Evening Cast has just released their bright new single Heartbeat, which has created much hype for the band. The Orange Press in their recent review of Heartbeat stated ‘Want one reason to check out The Evening Cast? They’re fun, plainly and simply. There’s an innocence to the on-screen duo that translates well audio-visually….these guys are worth watching!”



Hot Club Swing performing Sunday 9 February 2014