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Planning for 2014 is now well underway. We are staying in the town, but with a couple of big differences. At the top end of town, by the Church and Sports Club we are planning to use the Sports Ground and re-create the Festival site experience with marquees, stalls, car-parking, caravanning and camping all in the same place. We felt that the Festival lacked a 'heart' last year and this is something we learnt from our feedback and friends at the Blues Festival. We have had a very positive reaction to this proposal from everyone in town - thank you town..!
Rachel Hayward has been appointed Music Director for the Festival in 2014. Her remit is to help shape the event, engage with the bands and to maintain our traditions whilst bringing in new ideas. We are planning to create a true 'heart' for the Festival building on the successes of 2013. From a New Orleans background, Rachel has played amongst the very best players on the British jazz scene for over 30 years. She ran the Bude Jazz Festival for a number of years, and she now brings together her experience and love of music along with her exceptional organising skills as our Music Director for the Upton Jazz. Rachel and new Chairman David Harrison have made a great start - we're well ahead of last year and we're all enjoying planning for June 2014.
Many bands want to come back to Upton…! Annie Hawkins New Orleans Jazz Band; George Huxley's All Stars with Caz Shennington; John Shillito's Select Six; Tad Newton and Friends; Laurie Chescoe's Reunion Jazz Band. The Bateman Brothers Jazz Band will be re-creating the stunning concerts of Louis Armstrong in the 40's and 50's; Dennis Armstrong's Oliver Band will offer you 'tight arrangements' of King Oliver Creole Jazz classics.
You know Alan Barnes well and now you get to hear him with his old friend and piano player David Newton. Keith Nichols - classic jazz and ragtime - is probably the most talked about piano player on the jazz scene at the moment, and doesn't usually play Festivals …? Hey, but then we have the wonderful Craig Milverton and his trio back again and Craig with his Oscar Peterson tribute. Tom Kincaid is back, Spats Langham too; Jim Swinnerton as well. Ben Cummings will be treating you to his sublime trumpet playing; Jamie Brownfield will be back - more sublime trumpet playing. How much sublime trumpet playing do you want ?
James Evans is coming over from New Orleans; Jazz Connection and the Storeyville Jazz Band from Holland. Plus Shreveport Rhythm from Germany (with one or two Bourbon Stompers playing) and one or two more big names to confirm.
We welcome back Remi Harris who always fills the room. In 2014 we are proud to present a stronger line up of European and Gypsy Jazz featuring Radio Banska; Moscow Drug Club; Hot Fingers and Emily; and Fiddlebop.
If you like clarinet then you will love Trevor Whiting. Malcolm Sked is not really new to Upton having been here many times with Bob Kerr, but he will be with us in his own right and bringing his sousaphone and string bass. We welcome Nick 'scholar of jazz drumming ' Ward and one of the brightest drumming talents in the UK in Jack Cotterill.
Great news…we are going to take Dance, and the needs of Dancers, seriously, with a dedicated dance marquee and dance bands in other venues. So you will get to dance from mid-day to 11.00pm every day. We welcome back the Swing Commanders after their very popular first visit last year. Plus the ever popular Dart Valley Stompers, the Steve Tucker All Star Band, Jazz Connection, and the mighty, and we mean mighty Steve Steinhaus Swing band - big favourites on the Midlands Dance scene. There will be dance classes too.
Up and coming local band the Indigo Kings play bluesy jazz with classy vocals - think Caro Emerald and you're on the right lines. Rachel will entertain us with her 'Dream'; and we welcome Chris Pearce and his Frenchmen Street Jazz Band - with old friends Richard Leach and Graham Smith of Antique Six fame.
We know you like to parade but in the past couple of years we have been asked if we can spark it up a bit. This year we have not gone for sparks, we've got volcanoes - the Brass Volcanoes - check them out on their website. These guys played at the London Olympics and got invited back to play at the Paralympics. Wow…!
Rachel tells us she has another four or five big talents to confirm, so there's more to come.
Ruth and Lesley made their Jazz debut last year and they are coming back to organise the stalls and the food - in both locations, up there on the Sports Ground next to the Church, and as usual 'Down by the Riverside'. Severn Leisure will be running the Conway Castle and we promise to work together with any venues in town who want to pitch in with Music on the Fringe.
We're working with Richard and the team at Barbourne Cider to bring back the Jazz bar. Quality beers and ciders with quality music and a great atmosphere.
Since we announced the changes for 2014 we have had many calls from people from near and far who have previously supported the Jazz by handing out leaflets or putting up posters in clubs, tourist information centres and arts venues in their locality. Even organising groups to visit the Festival. Our response ? Of course we want to hear from you, we would love to have your support - so please get in touch and let us know how you can help us and how we can help you.
Something we want to shout about - a welcome addition to the Festivals of Upton. The first Upton Food and Beer Festival will take place on Jazz weekend and will be based on Fish Meadow. Yet another attraction, yet another reason to be at Upton Jazz Festival in June 2014. Check out their website in links.
Syd Pearman, ably assisted by Beryl, has already got his highlights DVD from Upton Jazz on You Tube. So if you want to relive some memories, please check out 13 bands at the 2013 Upton-upon-Severn Jazz Festival on You Tube SYD6325.Whilst bands have yet to be booked for next year it will give you a taste of what to expect at Festival 29 on 27th 28th and 29th June 2014.
Look out for the sheer class of Pete Allen and Ben Holder; the honeyed vocals of Ruth Frith; the wacky Red Stripes; the lovely Three Belles; plus 'son of Syd'... Bev Pegg; your favourites Lamarotte; Carl 'King of Boogie' Sinclair plus the amazing collapsing German keyboard...!!
Thanks to all those who made this year's Festival a success and a pleasure. Thanks for the many positive comments we have received and the support from the townsfolk and traders of Upton. We have already started the planning process for 2014; more news in September.
Any young players interested in taking part in jazz workshops or performance opportunities please contact Best of Young Jazz project managers on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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