Our latest flood in late February and early March had far-reaching impacts, and the loved Brisbane Jazz Club situated on the banks of the Brisbane River was once again impacted by floodwaters.

Like so many Brisbane businesses and venues, the Jazz Club was only recently getting back on its feet after COVID restrictions when the flood came.

“We thought that the Jazz Club was through the worst with the closing for building improvements, then four months closure for the initial Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent restricted numbers at the Club because of the pandemic. We were wrong. The flooding of the Club seemed to come out of nowhere, but on the Sunday of the flood, we managed to get all the furniture and equipment onto the back elevated stage with both pianos just beside it,” President Paul Day wrote recently.

Mr Day, said the Club is incredibly lucky to have a voluntary group of retirees, many of whom are in the building industry, who work at the Club every Tuesday undertaking maintenance and minor construction works.

“This group was on site every day for the first week donating their skills and expertise and hard labour. A few volunteers and Committee members also worked beside them. This was thought to be the best approach as the building is relatively small and all internal surfaces were very slippery, especially the sloping floor.”

“The Tuesday Club are one of the great strengths of the Club’s continued existence in this retrofitted building. There are always maintenance issues as the old timber bones move with time and we are continually amending the building to improve the experience of patrons i.e. retrofitting accessible pathways to the river side deck.”

The Club considered the need for the Mud Army on the second clean-up weekend to remove the damaged Marquee, but Jazz Club members rose to the challenge, and they did not need the Mud Army resources.

The Club says that significant work on the stage and a complete refit of the bar area is still required. The design of both will increase the flood resilience of the building. This work needs to be undertaken by professional builders, and this is underway.

The Club is better placed financially than with previous disruptions, and both the Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government are offering financial assistance… Be assured; we will re-open as soon as we are able,” Mr Day wrote in a recent newsletter to members.

The Club has occupied the 1930s boat club on the banks of the Brisbane River since 1972. It is a beautiful location, with views of the CBD across the water. But its location also makes it vulnerable to floods. This year was the third major flood experienced by the Club, but they are determined to keep going.

“It is likely that the Club will take two-three months to get back on our feet and open our doors once more. The Committee has started discussions about climate change impacts on the viability of the Club site. We face them each month with the full moon high tides as they lap some distance up our concrete river deck, currently.”

“Small measures to improve our flood resilience is our focus with this recovery.”

“To obtain a high level of resilience would require a complete concrete floor and cavity free wall design but to achieve this means a complete rebuild of our building.”

How can you support the Club?

As they say on their website, the Jazz Club plays a vital role in fostering an appreciation of jazz across all ages and nationalities. In addition, it regularly hosts school and college bands supporting our Youth in Jazz activities.

“We certainly need support. Manual support will be necessary when we are at the stage of ‘setting up’ inside in the days before we open.”

“The best support is for everyone to attend our events i.e. International Jazz Day event and our gigs in the Club once we re-open. All donations will be gratefully received,” Mr Day said.

International Jazz Day is on 30th April. The event will be relocated to an alternative venue, yet to be advised.

The Club has also rescheduled its 50th Anniversary celebration, originally planned for April, to June.

Keep an eye on the Club’s Facebook site for updates on events and locations.

“Mirror” image of the Club (bottom right) by Mark Brizzypix Coleman, all other images from by Brisbane Jazz Club committee members.