Free festival set to ignite the city with fifteen events over two weeks
The Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival will return with a bang this weekend.
Starting with a daytime Summer Dance Party at Ships and Giggles on Saturday, 14 May, hosted by up and coming North West based music outfit ALTR, the free Festival will feature fifteen events over two weeks.
Sponsored by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Arts Council England, and Preston City Council, it is the first time the event has been held in-person since 2019 because of the pandemic and is set to attract world-class talent alongside up and coming local artists.
Sunday 15 May sees the first appearance in Preston of British music pioneer Zed Bias, who will be doing a music production masterclass followed by one of his celebrated DJ sets at The Continental.
"Whilst the festival has grown out of the University, it is very much a festival of music and culture for the city. "— Festival Director Tony Rigg
There will be a variety of events all over the city including Soundskills in Brookfield on Tuesday 17 May, which will involve the screening of a film that captures some of Preston’s music histories. As part of the ‘City-Wide Jazz programme’ on Saturday 21 May, the home grown Lancashire Schools and the Lancashire Youth Jazz Orchestra’s will be performing in public for the first time since before Covid along with local favourites Honk.
Festival Director Tony Rigg said: “Whilst the festival has grown out of the University, it is very much a festival of music and culture for the city. It is very collaborative and run by a steering group with members of the community who really wanted to make sure there was something for everyone.
“We were also keen to help rebuild the region’s musical offering with activities that encourage music making and build audience confidence, encouraging everyone to enjoy music in safe environments.”
"... we have tried very hard to offer something for everyone, from experimental electronic music to traditional Jazz."— Festival Director Tony Rigg
Tony, who also helped set up UCLan’s Masters degree in music industry management, added: “It’s impossible to pick highlights from the line up as everything on the program is brilliant, and we have tried very hard to offer something for everyone, from experimental electronic music to traditional Jazz.
“I am very excited about the workshops because we are sowing seeds for future music makers and promoters, which include samba funk drumming on Sunday 22 May, how to put on your own music event on Monday 23 May, and on the 24 May we have celebrated musician, composer and audio designer Aziz Ibrahim showing people how to make music on mobile devices.
“Aziz who, amongst his many credits, was actually a member of the Stone Roses and collaborated with Ian Brown, Asia, Akala and many more, will also be hosting an Open Mic night at the Ferret so people can come and share their own music and even jam with Aziz. It is great to see the city’s new talent emerging at events like these.”
"I am very excited about the workshops because we are sowing seeds for future music makers and promoters ..."— Festival Director Tony Rigg
The event also sees the welcome return of music pioneer Graham Massey and Toolshed, who will be bringing the brand new MET venue (Mobile Event Tent) to life on Thursday 26 May. Graham, who was co-founder of 808 State, is also an Honorary Fellow of the University.
The Festival finale on 28 May sees the return of Jazzin’ the Park to Winckley Square, an event crammed with so much world class music, it is a festival in itself.
Tony added: “Jazzin’the Park will be a celebration of music and community in a beautiful park at the heart of Preston. It is the perfect opportunity for people to bring picnics and relax in an open outdoor space whilst listening to amazing live music.”
For more info go to www.prestonjazzfest.com Advance booking for workshops is recommended. People can follow the event on Facebook and Instagram via prestonjazzfest