The City of Greater Bendigo’s Summer in the Parks program takes on a distinctly musical feel for Fridays in February.

It starts tonight, Friday, February 2, in Crook Street Park, Strathdale, with Jakal, and Min and the Colin Band taking to the stage. The music starts at 6.30pm.

It’s a special night for Melbourne-based band Jakal, who will be launching their debut album at the show.

The self-titled album, which includes all original material, was recorded at Audrey Studios in Carlton. 

 Jakal – all teenagers – met at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. 

They share a passion for contemporary jazz and soul music. They play regularly across Victoria and have a residency at the Lomond Hotel in Brunswick.  

Well-known Bendigo brothers, Kane and Sam Watts comprise one third of the young outfit. They’re excited about performing back on home turf. 

“We regularly play gigs in Bendigo in other bands, and we’re very keen to share the original music we play with our Melbourne band Jakal,” Kane said. 

 “It will be awesome to launch our CD in Bendigo.” 

 Jakal is fronted by Jessie Hillel who was runner-up in New Zealand’s Got Talent in 2011 at the tender age of just 11. Hillel, and keyboard player, Max Teakle write the band’s music.  

 “We are pretty proud of the songs and how they have come up.” Hillel said.

“It’s hard to categorise our music, but we hope people find it fresh and energetic. Max and I do most of our writing sharing ideas through Facebook messenger.” 

A very 21st century approach to the creative process. 

Jakal will be on stage at 6.30pm at Crook Street Park, followed by Min and the Colin Band.

The following three weeks sees a diverse array of talent take to stages each Friday evening in the parks.

On February 9 Hailey Calvert, and The Northern Folk play at the Botanical Gardens in White Hills. Calvert, from Brisbane, is no stranger to Bendigo having previously played on the blues tram, and at venues across the city.

The Northern Folk are an ensemble currently numbering eleven – “folk” being the key word. Their gentle harmonies will be ideally suited to their surroundings on the evening.

The following week, Friday, February 16, the setting is Canterbury Park, Eaglehawk. 

Local young singer-songwriter Sherri Parry kicks the evening off, before popular covers band Iffy Pop take to the stage imploring Borough folks to get up and dance to their eclectic mix of numbers.

The season finishes in Rosalind Park on February 23. Locals, the Erica Hawkey Trio will be first up, followed by The Deans from Melbourne. The Deans are a polished soul group, and one of the highlights at last year’s Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival.

So… that’s two hours of music each Friday during February in some of the city’s beautiful open spaces. All events start at 6.30pm and finish at around 8.30pm. It’s all free. 

– Simon Wooldridge 

Twitter: @spwooldridge