After a six-year silence, a landmark music festival is coming back to Marlborough – and now with more than just jazz.

Although the music died when the much-celebrated Marlborough International Jazz Festival was suspended in 2017 after Wiltshire Council refused to allow all-day road closures, a new festival is to rise from the ashes.

Organisers are aiming to feature all styles of music at the new Marlborough Festival, for which top acts will be sought for a three-day event next year that will also showcase local musicians, arts, dance and theatre.

It will also include a food and drink gala and talks “featuring very notable people with unexpected links to Wiltshire.”  

Marlborough’s International Jazz Festival was a major event in the town’s life for 30 years.

When Nick Fogg became mayor of Marlborough in 1985 he made a promise to the town to set up a festival which would culturally enhance and do justice to the historic market town.

From its inception in 1986 as the Marlborough Music & Arts Festival, and later as the Marlborough International Jazz Festival, it won praise from artists and audiences who came from all over the world to be part of what was hailed as “a mini New Orleans”.

Besides concerts, a major feature of the jazz festival was the 'Stroller' tickets that enabled music lovers to see a large number of bands in over 20 locations around the town, and the buzz of that is what organisers of the new festival want to maintain.

With support from Marlborough Town Council and Wiltshire Council, organisers are already preparing for the first new festival to be held in July next year, with fundraising for it to be launched this spring.

Organiser Sandra Bhatia, who helped stage Honeyfest at Honeystreet and Onefest at Rockley Manor, said: “We are planning a crowdfunder in March to help support a launch event in the town hall, pencilled for July 22.”

The crowdfunder will be aimed at raising £10,000 to cover initial costs of staging the ambitious event next year.

Ms Bhatia added: “Once again, music lovers in Marlborough will be able wander freely to the sweet, sweet sounds of music everywhere.

“Like the Marlborough International Jazz Festival, Marlborough Festival 2023 will feature numerous acts, guaranteeing non-stop music over a three-day weekend.

“Past festivals in Marlborough have focused heavily on jazz music, and built a reputation for fostering acts that came back year after year. While that’s a tradition we are proud to maintain, the focus for Marlborough Festival 2023 will be more British, and more eclectic in its musical offering.

“As well as experiencing the New Orleans buzz seeping out of pubs and alleyways, guests can also expect the crackle of newer acts, some from right here in Wiltshire, and others from around the country.

“The festival is all about showcasing the very best that Marlborough, Wiltshire and the South West have to offer. Not just in terms of music, but also the arts: dance and heatre groups, champions of the spoken word, and heroes of food and drink.

"There will be a full schedule of electrifying talks, featuring very notable people with unexpected links to Wiltshire.

“The vast majority of local businesses have said yes to a festival coming back to the town and already we have had some great donations for the crowdfunder from businesses, to help incentivise people.

"It’s been a fantastic and heartwarming demonstration of initial support from the community.”