Cats out of the bag

HEADLINE ACT: World-renowned festival band The Cat Empire has been announced as the headline act for this year's Generations in Jazz Festival.
HEADLINE ACT: World-renowned festival band The Cat Empire has been announced as the headline act for this year’s Generations in Jazz Festival.

CELEBRATED as one of the world’s best festival bands, Melbourne’s The Cat Empire will headline this year’s Generations in Jazz Festival.

A firm summertime favourite for all generations, the band has celebrated an unrivalled level of success both at home and overseas since its inception over a decade ago and is renowned for a live show that never fails to deliver in the melody-driven, joyful-dancing stakes.

The Cat Empire is the first major guest artist announcement for the 2018 festival, with a score of other world-class acts tipped to be revealed over the coming weeks.

Generations in Jazz chair James Morrison said the band had a massive “global army” of fans for good reason.

“More than a decade into their career, The Cat Empire has emerged as one of a small handful of international bands able to attract such a dedicated following and enduring worldwide career – they deliver incredible musicality, humour, entertainment and energy,” Mr Morrison said.

While The Cat Empire’s last major tour saw them play to more than a quarter of a million people across Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia, Mr Morrison said the six-member outfit would not be phased by performing in a paddock.

“The Cat Empire members Oliver McGill, Ryan Monro, Kieran Conrau, William Hull-Brown and Ross Irwin are all GIJ alumni, attending the festival for the first time as members of their own school bands as young teenagers,” he said.

Event manager Nethanel Sutton said there had been an incredible public response to news the unique band was bound for Mount Gambier.

“They certainly draw a crowd and we are now working on a plan that will allow all those interested in attending this concert to secure a ticket,” Mr Sutton said.

Word of the experiences at Generations in Jazz continues to spread, with the number of visitors and schools signing up to participate in this year’s festival already smashing all previous records.

More than 350 school bands and vocal ensembles will travel to Mount Gambier for the May 3 to 6 event, with student numbers up by more than 500 on last year.

“We’ll have more than 5100 emerging musicians from 130 schools from across Australia participating,” Mr Sutton said.

In order to meet the unprecedented demand from schools and audiences, the 2018 GIJ festival will feature an exciting new format that will be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Reflecting on the festival’s long history, Mr Morrison said GIJ was firmly established as a major event on the national jazz calendar and was now a popular and important aspect of many school music programs.

“When the Generations in Jazz Festival first began, few could have predicted it would achieve longevity helping to shape the direction of jazz in this country and nurturing the growth of young musicians and audiences alike,” he said.

“Over the years, we have seen students play in school bands later return as music directors, bringing a new generation of musicians to experience the festival.

“In addition, finalists in the James Morrison Scholarship and GIJ Vocal Scholarship are now playing all over the world and Mount Gambier is now known as Australia’s home of jazz.”

Members of the public interested in attending this year’s festival are encouraged to make contact with the festival office to register their name to secure tickets before they go on public sale later in the month.

Register your details today via email to or SMS 0447 174 333.