The Castlemaine Jazz Festival is an annual event that takes place in Castlemaine, a town in Central Victoria, Australia. It is traditionally held over the King’s birthday weekend in June, making it a popular winter festival aimed at boosting local tourism.

Since its inception in 2014, the festival has featured a diverse array of jazz performers and bands. Notable acts from past festivals include the Ade Ishs Trio, The Ruby Rogers Experience, and local bands like Vida Jazz and Moodswing. The festival venues have varied over the years, hosting performances in historical hotels, theatres, and even unique setups like a “Jazz Train” that runs from Castlemaine to Maldon and back.

Where? Castlemaine Victoria

When? June long weekend since 2014

Festival Website | Festival Facebook Page

Festival Background

The festival, initiated by a passionate group of local and Melbourne musicians, including John Hannah and Ken Turnbull from the local jazz jam scene, and Melbourne Jazz Jammers Ted Woollan and Colin Garrett, found its home in Castlemaine after an earlier proposal in Maldon did not garner sufficient interest.


The inaugural Castlemaine Jazz Festival launched in June 2014, coinciding with the Queen’s birthday weekend, a strategic choice by the organizers and the Mt Alexander Shire Council to attract winter tourism to the area. The event featured 58 bands spanning various jazz genres, with performances held across eight unique venues including a memorable “Jazz Train” ride with a steam engine from Castlemaine to Maldon.

Over the years, the festival has grown significantly, featuring up to 104 bands in 2016 and expanding to include newer venues such as the Theatre Royal and Boomtown Winery at the Mill. Despite facing challenges such as venue closures and the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival has continued to thrive, adapting with outdoor concerts and new initiatives to keep the spirit of jazz alive in the community.

The festival is proudly run by volunteers and supported by various sponsors, under the leadership of figures such as Linda Carpenter and Calum McClure, who have helmed the festival committee through various stages of its evolution.

As the Castlemaine Jazz Festival approaches its tenth iteration, it remains a beacon of cultural enrichment and entertainment, promising to bring more thrilling performances and community engagement in the years to come.

Castlemain Jazz Festival June each year

Castlemaine Attractions

Castlemaine itself is rich in tourist attractions that complement the festive atmosphere. Key sites include:

  1. The Castlemaine Art Museum – Known for its collection of Australian art and historical artifacts.
  2. The Botanical Gardens – Offering a peaceful escape with well-maintained paths, mature trees, and a picturesque lake.
  3. The Mill Castlemaine – A hub for food, art, and culture, housing artisanal producers, art galleries, and vintage markets.
  4. Buda Historic Home and Garden – A significant Victorian era residence that provides insight into 19th-century living.
  5. Goldfields Track – A walking and cycling trail that explores the region’s gold mining history.

The festival not only showcases jazz music but also helps to promote these local attractions, contributing to the cultural and economic vitality of the region.


Traditional Owners

Castlemaine Jazz Festival acknowledges the Dja Dja Wurrung as the traditional owners of the lands and waters of Castlemaine and surrounds and recognises all other indigenous people of the Shire and the vital role that the traditional owners, the local Jaara people, play as the custodians of the region.

We pay our respects to the Dja Dja Wurrung Elders, past, present and emerging