Four finalists in next week's National Jazz Awards are yet to record their entries because of Melbourne's strict lockdown rules.
A highlight of the online Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, the 10 singers were due to appear across the seven-day program and the winner announced on Saturday, October 31.
Festival general manager Leanne Mulcahy said the latest health advice indicated as part of a COVID-safe plan, some venues were classed as permitted industries for broadcast purposes.
"Safety is always our number one priority and we are exploring options within the 25 kilometre radius of the four Melbourne finalists' homes," she said.
Michelle Nicolle, one of the three judges, said if needed the panel would delay the announcement until all finalists could be heard.
"It's not ideal ... but that's where we're at," she said.
"The festival's doing everything within its power to make it happen."
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At the end of the day, jazz is enriched by life experience, and it's safe to say we've all experienced a lot this year.Olivia Chindamo
Finalist Olivia Chindamo will record her three songs in New York after returning from Melbourne to the US at short notice to resume face-to-face classes at The Juilliard School.
She has just finished her quarantine period and says the perseverance needed in 2020 has only increased her connection to jazz music.
"At the end of the day, jazz is enriched by life experience, and it's safe to say we've all experienced a lot this year," Chindamo said.
"The music of 2020 is going to be powerful and historic for years to come."
Longtime festival performer Margie Lou Dyer also understands the emotion that surrounds jazz music.
"Playing as if it's your last chance," she said.
"It's that lineage that transcends style, it's quintessentially about strong rhythmic attitudes, singing about pain and sorrow and joy and everything else."
Nicolle said when judging the National Jazz Awards she would hope to hear a unique and genuine sound and, even this year, connection to the audience.
"Being jazz, it's a group conversation," she said.
"I'll be looking for that interaction with the musicians and the way that they convey their energy and the stories of the songs as you would if you were in a real room and feeling that energy between the performers and the audience."
- Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues will be held online between October 26 and November 1. For program and bookings, go to wangarattajazz.com