A festival of music and culture for Preston and the surrounding areas

8 May 2024

The Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival will return from 21 May to 7 June

Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival returns for 2024 with 26 exciting music and culture related activities at a wide variety of locations and venues throughout Preston.

Supported by the University of Central Lancashire, Preston City Council, and local collaborators, the three-week festival is set to ignite the city with activities in public parks, music venues, community centres, online and even on the streets of Preston.

Tony Rigg, Festival Director and University lecturer in music industry management, 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 take over 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.”

"We have programmed lots of world-class concert activity, but we also want people to ‘really’ get involved"

Tony Rigg, Festival Director and University lecturer in music industry management

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 will be delighting audiences with classic jazz. It is no exaggeration to describe the quartet as a Jazz Supergroup. Mr Helliwell, who rose to prominence in Supertramp, will be joined by the esteemed company of 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.

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 go to the website and follow the event on Facebook and Instagram via prestonjazzfest