Return plans for jazz and blues fest

The Wyre Levee Stompers
The Wyre Levee Stompers

A date has been set for the return of the Blackpool Jazz And Blues Festival.

The musical showcase will take place for the fourth year, in St John’s Square and the Winter Gardens Pavilion Theatre and Horseshoe on Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22.

Festival director Stephen Pierre said: “It’s funding vehicle currently is a joint enterprise of small business sponsorship, and support from Blackpool BID.

“In order to allow the festival to evolve and eventually become self sufficient we are setting up The Blackpool Jazz And Blues Festival Trust.

“This will be a stand-alone non-profit organisation run by volunteers with its aim to financially support the festival production costs and help raise the cultural profile of Blackpool.”

An arts and crafts fair will be held in the Horseshoe, with music on the two stages.

Stephen added: “Reaching out to the wider arts community is key for increasing footfall and awareness of this cultural event.

“I was born and raised in Blackpool and as a youngster saw the tale end of the resort’s tourism years of prosperity.

“I would like to see Blackpool adopt a more metropolitan approach, and attract a wider demographic.

“Organising this event is quite a task, but nonetheless an indescribable pleasure. With the support of the Winter Gardens, musicians, volunteers, Blackpool BID, Visit Blackpool and the local media, we have the capacity to allow this festival to grow year on year.”

So far, the event has raised around £10,000 for Trinity Hospice.

Among the acts involved in this year’s festival were BBC Young Musician of The Year 2015 award winner Alexander Bone and his band and veteran jazz pianist Frank Flynn, while trumpet ace Terry Reaney led his 18-piece Blue Bird Big Band as he celebrated his 80th birthday in the Spanish Hall on Saturday.

This year was the first time the festival moved outside, with music in St John’s Square as well as the Spanish Hall and the Baronial Hall within the Winter Gardens.

Stephen has a series of fringe events also planned for the outdoors space.