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Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2018 celebrates another record-breaking year

Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2018

Cheltenham Jazz Festival has broken box office records as more than 30,000 visitors and locals flocked to Cheltenham to celebrate jazz in all its diversity over the Bank Holiday weekend. A further 20,000 enjoyed the free music in stages all over the town.

Festivals Director Ian George said: “Our mission is to break down barriers and bring jazz to everyone. Cheltenham turned into one big jazz party where thousands of people could celebrate music with their family and friends. We had over 100 free gigs in Montpellier Gardens and around the pubs, clubs and streets of Cheltenham as well as bringing the best of jazz to the town. For us, it’s about getting as many people involved as possible, about giving as many people opportunities as possible and working with as many communities as we can.”
Festival highlights:

BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music broadcast 13 hours of live radio from the Festival, including concerts from Randy Crawford and Friday Night is Music Night. Presenters Jo Whiley, Clare Teal, Gilles Peterson and Cerys Matthews presented shows from backstage at the Festival, bringing Cheltenham to the nation’s homes and car radios and more concerts were recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Talking to Cerys Matthews, Gilles Peterson said “It’s eye-opening for me… festivals are about introducing music and ideas to people who might not otherwise come across them. What’s great about Cheltenham is that you’ve got your paying venues putting on really amazing stuff, but when you walk around and feel the energy and see the musicians everywhere, it’s a wonderful magnet for the music.”

International artists included Randy Crawford on the only UK date of her Spring tour, Van Morrison, and the first UK appearance for Grammy-winning Christian McBride Big Band (where James Owston, a second year student at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, was called upon at 30 minutes notice to perform the opening and closing numbers for McBride, playing the star’s own double bass). Kamasi Washington, one of the biggest names in jazz today, jammed at a late night session in Hotel du Vin and Mercury Prize nominees Dinosaur performed for 600 school children in the Jazz Festival’s Concert for Schools. More slots than ever before were given to emerging artists in showcase concerts and support slots for main acts. Courtney Pine said “Cheltenham Jazz Festival supports home-grown talent and gives a platform to new artists on the jazz scene. That’s why I keep coming back.”

Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager for Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), said: “The Jazz Festival’s …around town programme brings people to Cheltenham and gives our businesses the opportunity to show the world what a diverse range of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants we have here. Whether people like Jazz or not, the performances create a great atmosphere and they enjoy themselves. That’s what they will remember about being in Cheltenham during the Jazz Festival.”

Explore Gloucestershire
9 May 2018

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