Experience the rhythm of Melbourne’s jazz scene at the annual Newport Jazz Festival, a family-friendly musical event running over two and a half days from Friday 3 May to Sunday 5 May 2024.
Now in its third year, the Newport Jazz Festival promises an experience full of pizazz for music-loving families. With a fantastic line-up of musicians, a range of venue options and jazz styles, plus food and drink, this is a celebration of Melbourne’s vibrant jazz scene that’s not to be missed!
Newport Jazz Festival 2024
The volunteer-run Newport Jazz Festival takes place in Newport each year and presents the most talented jazz musicians from across Melbourne and Australia.
Attendees can expect to hear a range of genres and styles, from traditional to contemporary jazz, swing tunes, blues, bebop, and more, enjoyable for young and old.
The people involved have produced a festival atmosphere that is upbeat and joyous, providing an enriching experience.
We promise the whole family will leave with big smiles on their faces!
As a musician myself, I’m drawn to any opportunity that will introduce my kids to the amazing world of performing arts. I reckon jazz is one of the most dazzling, eclectic, and expressive music genres out there!
Each year there are over 50 bands on the Newport Jazz Festival program, all of which are made up of local performers and very talented, passionate musicians.
From stunning soloists to 20+ piece big bands, kids and parents alike will be mesmerised by the variety of sounds, instruments, and incredible talent on show. View the full Newport Jazz Festival program.
If you have kids who love music, rhythm, and dance, they’ll be able to explore new ideas around music and leave this festival with a deeper love for jazz.
Our kids had never seen a saxophone or trombone played in real life and even we grown-ups experienced some new instruments being played, such as the washboard, sousaphone, and zither.
Delve Into The World Of Jazz
We also enjoyed some more unique styles of jazz including funk, Latin groove and jazz rock! The Oasis cover played by Big Band Frequency had us bopping along and at the main stage, our little ones were able to dance the day away right in front of the bands.
Each music set runs for an hour including set up and pack down. Unlike attending one traditional concert, the festival setting allows attendees to come and go from the venues as they please.
This is great for families as you can stay for just one song or settle yourselves in for the whole day.
My kids loved watching the musicians and the wide range of instruments during each set, as well as the process of setting up all the equipment. The musicians themselves were very receptive and encouraging to the younger members of the audience.
Newport Jazz Festival Venues
In 2024, the Newport Jazz Festival is spread across four different venues on Market Street in Newport, all of which are a stone’s throw from the Newport Train Station.
All of the venues have some space for prams. Families might like to stop at Paine Reserve Playground in between music sets for a stretch of the legs or to pick up some takeaway lunch or coffee the cafes along nearby Mason Street, including Leroys and The Backyard.
With four different venues all within a short walk of each other, the festival layout is easy for families, who can choose their favourite environment to enjoy the music.
From an intimate jazz club setting to a larger indoor stage, there is something for everyone.
The main festival hub is the Newport Bowls Club which hosts both the Main Stage and Back Room event venues.
The Bowls Club main stage is quite large and has lots of seating including tables for bistro dining and a bar. We love this venue for its fun vibe and there’s room at the front of the stage for little kids to dance and get up close to see all the action.
The selection of drinks including spirits, wine, tap beer, and cider are at reasonable prices, as with the bistro menu which has traditional pub grub and a $10 kids menu.
The Back Room is small, warm, and cosy, perfect for an intimate dim-lit soiree.
Beside the Bowls Club is the Scout Hall. This venue is spacious and with great acoustics. During the day throughout the festival, the Scouts host a sausage sizzle outside.
A short walk away via Paine Reserve is the Newport Community Hub. The Library music venue is a long room with tall windows overlooking the park and the Mechanics Hall at the other end of the building is small with an elevated stage and good sound.
In 2024, the SUBSTATION Newport is not participating as a music venue.
The Story of Newport Jazz Festival
This fun weekend of fantastic music is run by the not-for-profit association Melbourne Jazz Jammers, which is made up of passionate musos working to create more opportunities for the industry and to promote the wonderful world of jazz.
It all began with weekly jazz jam sessions. Following the establishment of the Castlemaine Jazz Festival in 2014, plus regular gigs developing across Melbourne, the Newport Jazz Festival, now in its third year, was a compelling next step.
All of the festival staff are volunteers who put in over 600 hours to see this event up and running each year. They are friendly, helpful, and full of warm energy.
Newport Jazz Festival Tickets
Adult tickets are $49 for a full day or $79 for the whole weekend. With your Saturday, Sunday or weekend ticket, the Friday program is free. Or just book the Friday night alone for $25.
Children under 16 years of age receive free entry when accompanied by an adult. Concession prices are also available.
You can book tickets online or at the door on the day.
Top Tips For Attending Newport Jazz Festival 2024
- Festival dates are Friday 3 May to Sunday 5 May 2024;
- Enjoy a fun family-friendly vibe with four different venues;
- Adult tickets are $49 for a full day or $79 for the whole weekend. Friday night alone is $25. Children under 16 are free.
- Venues are child-friendly, and pram-friendly with some nappy change facilities.
- View the full festival program;
- Newport Bowls Club has a bar, bistro menu and kids menu;
- The Scouts host a sausage sizzle outside the venue during the day;
- Other great eateries are available nearby on Mason Street and Hall Street;
- Families might like to stop at Paine Reserve Playground;
- Plenty of street parking available;
- A short walk from Newport Train Station.