Manly Jazz Festival   Leave a comment

Sunday, 6th October, 2013

A couple of years ago I came up to Sydney with James to visit a friend over the NRL Grand Final weekend. During this trip we all travelled over to Manly Beach (who happened to be one of the finalist) to take a look around. When we arrived, we were surprised to find out that a huge Jazz Festival was in progress all over the town. By the looks of things the Manly Jazz Festival is an annual event held over the Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday weekend and so seeing that I was in town I thought that I would revisit and take in as much of the music on offer as possible.

It was a long day yesterday, but I was still up early this to help Lawrence make breakfast before Barbara left for work. I was expecting a busy day down at the harbour with the naval review still going on, fans arriving for the Grand Final and of course people heading out to Manly on the ferries. Therefore, I bagged a lift down to the train station from Lawrence at 10:00 so that I could get into town and, hopefully, avoid the worst of the crowds down at the pier. I still wanted to watch the NRL Grand Final, so I arranged to meet Lawrence back at the Panania RSL club in time for the start of the match.

As I descended the stairs from the Circular Quays train station, I knew I was in trouble, as I could see the queue for the ticket booths for the ferry to Manly snaking along the water’s edge. Numpty! Should have bought a combined train, bus & ferry day pass back at Revesby station when I boarded the train. Luckily, I knew that there were two ticket offices and most people start queuing at the first one they come too without realising that there’s a second one on the other side of the pier. Getting the ferry ticket was only part of the battle now I had to queue up for the ferry itself, I joined the back of the queue just as one of the ferries was approaching the dock. However, I soon realised I had no chance of getting on this boat and so it proved as the crew closed the barriers just before it was my turn to go through them.

I eventually got on board the next ferry and found myself a decent seat outside at the front, where I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the navy ship that I thought were out in the harbour. Unfortunately, they had all gone, so I had to be content with a couple of Tall Ships and the approach into Manly Wharf. On leaving the boat it looked as though the whole of Sydney had travelled over to Manly for the festival, as the place was packed. However, I soon found a space at the first stage I came across and settled in to see a couple of bands, the second of which was the New Zealand naval jazz band! On the other side of the boardwalk, where the main Manly beach is located, was where the main stage had been set up. On this stage was a massive ensemble of musicians, who were having a whale of a time in what looked like a jam session, as one by one, each member came to the front to do his or her stuff in front of the audience.

Time for a swim I thought, so I jumped over the wall onto the beach and started to get ready for the surf. Just as I was about to into the sea, I heard a load of music coming from a group of musicians just along the beach with a large crowd surrounding them as they made their way along. The roving band stopped right by where I was getting changed and proceeded to get everyone dancing along with them in the surf. Once they had finished I managed to get into the water for my swim and after drying off I returned to the main stage to watch some more of the bands on offer. Looking at the program, I realised that there were several more stages dotted around the town and so I wandered off to take a look at what they had to offer.

Watching all this jazz made me hungry and when in Manly, it’s practically the law that you have to buy fish and chips and eat them on the front overlooking the beach/sea. Feeling a bit full after lunch, I decided to take a stroll through the street market with stall selling all sorts of stuff, which I found interesting but was never going to buy! Except, I was in the market for a hat and in amongst all this was the most perfect Panama hat that I paid well over the odds for, but fulfilled the main task of keeping the sun off my every expanding bald patch on top of my head and made me look cool into the bargain (Well, that’s what the stall holder said!)

Remembering that I had to get back to Panania for the start of the NRL Grand Final, I left Manly on the 16:00 ferry which got me back into Circular Quay 30 minutes later. Still time for a quick look around The Rocks and visit a pub that I’ve been meaning to go to for ages. The Glenmore Hotel up on Cumberland Street which runs along the top of the Rocks is an old pub that was being refurbished every times I’ve walked past it previously. Today, I was in luck as it was opened and I wasted no time in heading up to the rooftop bar, grabbing a drink and taking some of the best viewed to be found in Sydney. I timed my departure from the pub so that I could take a look around the rocks archaeological dig underneath of the Rocks YMA building and still catch the train back to Panania.

I thought that was a little late in meeting Lawrence at the Diggers RSL club, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the big match didn’t kick off until 8pm, so I had time to grab a quick bite to eat in the restaurant before settling down to watch the game.

BTW The Sydney Roosters beat the Manly team 28-16

Posted October 6, 2013 by yermandownunder in Observations, Out and about, Travels

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