Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival returns with free music for the city

Posted on - 19th May, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Avenham, Broadgate, Brookfield, City Centre, Music, Parks, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, University campus, What's On in Preston, Winckley Square
Winckley Square Pic: Tony Worrall
Winckley Square will host Jazzin’ the Park Pic: Tony Worrall

A free music festival in Preston will see nearly 100 performers taking to the stage at a wide variety of venues throughout Preston.

The Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival will welcome 99 artists to the city between 21 May and 10 June.

Funded by Arts Council England, Preston City Council and supported by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), the three-week festival is set to ignite the city with activities in public parks, venues, restaurants, community centres, schools, colleges, online and even on the streets of Preston.

The 24 public activities will include concerts featuring world-class musicians, and workshops that will offer the chance for everyone to join in making music.

The festival will also support events put on by local promoters while a free conference will look at diversity and inclusivity in the music industry.

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Tony Rigg, Festival Director and UCLan lecturer in music industry management, said: “Community is the beating heart of the festival. It is for everyone, families, young, old, people from all walks of life. A place with more music is a better place to live. Music is good for our wellbeing.

“Whilst it may be a jazz festival by name, there is something for everyone. We want as many people as possible to get involved as audience members, but also to take part in the workshops, and even to get performing. People who come to the workshops will have the option to perform what they have learned at one of our public events. Participation and providing opportunities for the next generation of local music makers and creatives, are important themes of the festival.”

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The main festival kicks off on Sunday 21 May with a gig at the Continental, celebrating the music of Sonny Rollins, performed by some of the region’s finest musicians including Munch Manship, John Bailey, Caroline Boaden and Gary Culshaw.

There will be a special acoustic gig filmed in front of a live audience, An Evening with Tim Staffell on Friday 9 June at the Continental. He will tell his fascinating story from his early days in bands with members of Queen to the present day, and play some of his finest songs. This will include a preview of new material from his forthcoming album Wayward Child. There will also be a question and answer section, giving audience members a chance to ask questions.

Tim Staffell
Tim Staffell will play his first live show in Lancashire since the 1970s

Tim said: “I’m really looking forward to this gig and connecting in person with some of my fans in the North of England. This will be my first live show in Lancashire since the 1970s, so this is very special to me.”

Other concerts include dinner jazz at Bistrot Pierre with award-winning vocalist Zoe Gilby and the local jazz and fusion powerhouse Outlier at the Ferret. Local multimedia artist Chris Davis, who will be presenting a film about the joy of music making in Preston at Soundskills in Brookfield on Monday 29 May, has also been working with teachers and pupils from Lostock Hall Academy.

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Back by popular demand, the family-friendly festival sized finale, Jazzin’ the Park, returns to Winckley Square on Saturday 10 June.

This year’s workshops include one on how to make music with mobile devices led by celebrated musician, composer, and audio designer Aziz Ibrahim. People can learn jazz guitar with John Bailey, and get hold of instruments, drums or even sing in a series of fun music making workshops with Dr Jon Aveyard. There is also a workshop on how to run your own music events for budding promoters or DIY musicians.

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Adrian Phillips, Chief Executive of Preston City Council, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing such an inclusive festival of music and culture to the city. Since the festival began in 2018, it has grown to become one of the biggest and best attended music events in the region, entertaining thousands of people each year.

“We feel it’s so important to bring this free, family-friendly event back to venues across Preston and we know this fantastic programme of live music will offer something for everyone.”

Advance booking is recommended to secure a place for the free ticketed events and workshops. For more details and ticket booking information go to Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival website and follow the event on Facebook and Instagram via prestonjazzfest.

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