Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Marlborough jazz fest hosts newcomers and old favourites
THE ANNUAL jazz festival at Marlborough may be approaching its quarter-century but it still gets bigger and better every year said organiser Nick Fogg.
Heavy rain that had blighted the town most of the week stayed away, although Friday evening shows were marred by drizzle.
It was evident that crowds were down at the opening ceremony.
Box office statistics showed that more people had bought stroller tickets for Friday than in previous years although early indications were that advance sales of tickets for Saturday were slightly down.
Mr Fogg said: "We were extremely lucky with the weather when you consider that the previous weekend there was an absolute deluge all the time," said Mr Fogg.
"My own feeling is that was one of the best festivals we have had," said Mr Fogg who has been the principle organiser since the first festival was held 22 years ago.
The weekend line-up lived up to the international reputation of the festival, too, with performers coming from Africa, Canada, a number of US bands, Spain and Russia.
The festival's hardy annuals like the Pete Allen Jazz Band, Chris Jagger and his Atcha Band and Steve "Big Man" Clayton were back.
The weekend was headlined by Clare Teal who was one of the festival's discoveries six or seven years ago and who has since won international jazz acclaim and huge recording contracts.
Her audience packed out the massive Priory Garden marquee on Saturday night for a virtually sell-out performance by Clare Teal who comes from Bath.
Hers was the only act where the public had to pay extra, £21, on top of their stroller tickets (£50 for the weekend, £33 for Saturday), to hear her sing.
Mr Fogg said: "We tend to make our own stars like Clare Teal.
"We discover them, sometimes when nobody has heard of them, and then they become stars like Clare.
"Then, because we have booked them early, they tend to stay loyal to us."
The festival costs £180,000 per year to put on and without generous sponsors would run at a huge loss, Mr Fogg said.
The opening ceremony on Friday featured the newly formed St John's School jazz band who arrived on the back of a Fuller's Brewery dray.
Entrepreneur Howard Spooner who is looking into the possibility of bank rolling the town's proposed Riverbank theatre formally opened the festival and arts centre.
Sadly it was the last opening ceremony to be blessed by the town's Roman catholic Priest Father Philip Thomas who is leaving the town after ten years to move to Somerset.
Click here for more reviews and photos from The Marlborough Jazz Festival.