Warwick’s Jumpers and Jazz festival strikes gold

Pam Burley, Bette Bonney and Karina Devine with Gold winning trees. Picture: SAMANTHA WANTLING

By Lucy Waldron

The Yarnbombed Tree Exhibition that adorned Queensland’s Southern Downs last July have clinched the title of Australia’s best art experience for small-town festival enthusiasts.

The accolade was announced at the Australian Street Art Awards, where the Jumpers & Jazz in July Yarnbombed Tree Exhibition was crowned the Best Small Town Street Art Festival or Event for 2023.

The Australian Street Art Awards, a platform celebrating public art programs, encourages Australians to explore the nation’s world-class street and public art, freely accessible year-round in every corner of the country.

According to Awards Director Liz Rivers artworks are unique and therefore clever communities promote their outdoor art, including welcome art, as a unique attraction that visitors can see in only one place.

“That makes investing in outdoor art as a visitor attraction mechanism good economic sense, especially when you consider that these art assets are typically far less expensive to create and maintain than more traditional tourism attractions,” she said.

The Jumpers and Jazz in July festival, a winter tradition in Warwick for the past 19 years, seamlessly blends textile art and traditional craft with top-class live jazz, captivating the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Jumpers and Jazz in July President Pam Burley said this win comes at a great time as the festival celebrates its 20th year.

“The awards are national so winning means we now reach a wider audience and gain a higher profile within the art scene,” Pam said.

“The Yarnbomed Tree Exhibition is the brainchild of the Warwick Art Gallery and their management of the fibre art is something that needs to be applauded every year.”

Art lovers are high-value visitors who spend about one-and-a-half times more each day than other domestic tourists and stay about 50 percent longer, according to an Australia Council for the Arts’ Domestic Art Tourism: Connecting the Country Report.

Warwick Art Gallery Director Karina Devine said it was a surprise to achieve a gold medal, knowing there were some incredible finalists from all over the country.

“We have developed an expanded program of activities to acknowledge this milestone year and have recently put out a call for sponsorship to help us deliver some amazing additions to commemorate the anniversary,“ Karina said.

“We also would love to welcome new creatives to the Yarnbombed Tree Exhibition, hoping this win will inspire some new registrations.”

The judges commended Jumpers and Jazz in July for fostering community participation and amateur entries, hailing it as a joy-filled event that has become a signature tourism attraction for the entire Southern Queensland Country region.

Jumpers and Jazz in July Yarnbombed Trees Exhibition was one of fourteen winners recognised with a Gold Award for exceptional outdoor art this year, and the Best Small Town Festival or Event category was introduced this year to honour the innovation evident in towns with less than 100,000 residents.