Feeling festive…

When the jazz obsession first grew on me, I’d have loved the profusion of festivals we have now. In those days, there was one a year, if you were lucky. (This is why I still have a complete set of programmes somewhere for the Bracknell Jazz Festival: sad man, but it was pretty much the only event like it in the country when it began in the late 1970s.)

Nowadays, pretty well everywhere has a jazz fest of some sort, large or small. I just missed the Stroud festival last weekend in its entirety. This review makes it sound great, but I don’t mind. One has to be selective now. And I’m even a bit less keen on the whole idea. Festivals are great for sampling new players, but I guess now I prefer to listen to one or two things in a day, then digest, rather than do a whole succession of gigs.

When you do feel festive, we’re pretty well served in these parts. Bath’s jazz weekend has  faded away, but Bristol’s festival is still going, though loaded with debt  (do support their current crowdfunder), Cheltenham prospers. Brecon is sort of going again in August, though not able to offer the kind of line-ups we used to enjoy. And there’s a mini-festival next week in Cardiff, at the Royal Welsh College that has some excellent things on offer. (Programme here).

Later in the year, Teignmouth – which always used to holds its festival so it clashed with the vast affair in London in November, is moving to October this year, with a line-up promised soon. The Llandudno festival, up in North Wales is solidly programmed with excellent UK players, and in a lovely place, too, and definitely deserves a repeat visit one year. I’m sure I’ve missed others that are reachable from Bristol, – Swansea has one now too, I think – but that’ll do to be going on with.




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