Developing jazz communities in regional Australia: A multi-site qualitative study on Cairns and Mackay, north Queensland
thesisposted on 14.10.2020, 00:00 by Peter Mckenzie
The mention of jazz in Australia might conjure up thoughts of performances in trendy laneway venues in Melbourne or other metropolitan cities. However, jazz is performed throughout the country in many smaller regional centres. These regions often have highly skilled musicians who enjoy the support of a small, but passionate, community. This thesis documents a qualitative exploration of the question: What factors influence the development and sustainability of a jazz community in regional Australia? The study focussed on Cairns and Mackay in North Queensland, Australia, and applied grounded theory methodology to data from 24 semi-structured interviews with community members in both regions. The data collection also included a survey of audience members associated with the jazz community in Mackay. The study investigated topics associated with performance, sociological, governmental and educational factors in both communities, and through the grounded theory process it uncovered three major influences: venues, regionality and education. It was discovered that both communities shared similar challenges in relation to jazz musicians performing in venues, working with venue owners, and attracting audiences. Both regions also shared issues relating to geographical isolation, economic impacts, transient populations, and parochialism from the general public. While there were some similarities in the factors that contributed to the development of the jazz communities in Cairns and Mackay, the study also uncovered significant differences based on the distinct geographical, economic, sociological and educational influences within each region. i This study provided an opportunity to explore multiple approaches to building and sustaining two North Queensland jazz communities. Since some of these approaches might be applicable to jazz communities in other regional areas, a series of practical recommendations have been drawn from this investigation.