Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival returning for 2024 to spread music and culture across the city

Posted on - 17th May, 2024 - 6:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Music, Parks, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Things to Do in and around Preston, UCLan, University campus, What's On in Preston, Winckley Square
Prestonians enjoying Jazzin’ the Park on Winckley Square in 2023
Prestonians enjoying Jazzin’ the Park on Winckley Square in 2023

Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival is returning for 2024 with 26 exciting music and culture-related activities taking place across the city.

The three-week festival is set to ignite the city with activities in parks, music venues, community centres, online and even on the streets of Preston.

The festival is supported by the University of Central Lancashire, Preston City Council, and local collaborators.

Read more: Preston’s Encounter Festival secures £96,000 from Arts Council England

Tony Rigg, Festival Director and lecturer in music industry management at UCLan, said: “Whilst it may be a jazz festival by name, there is something for everyone.

“We have programmed lots of world-class concert activity, but we also want people to ‘really’ get involved. We have some great accessible, free, fun music workshops run by Dr Jon Aveyard, as well as a beginners guide to making computer music run by our friends at Lancashire Music Service.

“Opportunities for local music makers to get on the stage include the open mic takeover at The Ferret. Young Jazz on the Square provides an opportunity for some of our local youth ensembles to perform, and for audiences to relax on Preston’s beautiful Winckley Square. If we get the sun, it will be a perfect family day out.

“We have done our best to make as many of the events free to attend as possible, and whilst not all events are free, we are confident that the paid ticket events will delight.”

Read more: Family-friendly Lancashire Festival returning to Preston’s Miller Park for 2024

As well as promoting up-and-coming regional talent, the festival is hosting UK artists of international repute including former Stone Roses and Simply Red guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, who stops off at The Ferret as part of his UK String Theory Tour on Wednesday 29 May.

On Friday 31 May, electronic music legend Danny Rampling will be DJing at the Continental. Also at the Conti, on Saturday 1 June, the John Helliwell Quartet – described as a jazz supergroup – will be delighting audiences with classic jazz. Mr Helliwell, who rose to prominence in Supertramp, will be joined by musicians Gary Culshaw, Caroline Boaden, and Andrejz Berenak. Local guitar virtuoso John Bailey will also be on the bill with his experimental supergroup UTOPIA, performing on Thursday 6 June.

A host of international artists will also be descending on Preston. Homeboy Sandman, from Brooklyn, will be at The Ferret on Sunday 2 June with Preston’s very own Jazzin’ the Park DJs for a day of eclectic beats.

Read more: ‘Monumental moment’ for iconic Preston music venue The Ferret as future secured

Nu Jazz, from New York, will take to The Ferret stage on Wednesday 5 June while fellow American Oddisee, a rapper, will appear at the same venue on Thursday 6 June.

The festival will draw to a close with another international favourite at The Ferret, the Benoit Martiny Band from the Netherlands.

Rigg added: “The festival is a festival of music and culture for the people of Preston. It is nothing without our community and collaborators. We are keen to support local artists and new promoters. We do have many involved this year, but we’d love to hear from anyone who wants to get involved moving forward. A place with more music and culture is a better place to live.”

Advance booking is recommended. For more details and ticket booking information, visit the Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival website and follow the event on Facebook and Instagram via prestonjazzfest.

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This story was made possible by support from you, our readers, and a host of organisations in the city, through our Crowdfund Lancashire appeal, which unlocked support from the Lancashire Culture and Sport Fund provided by Lancashire County Council. You can see all our coverage and, if you know of an arts project or event in the city we should be covering, send details to

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