Ribble Valley Jazz Festival draws the crowds

Clitheroe Town Mayor Sue Knox enjoys a performance by the Pendle Jazzmen at Maxwell's cafe/bar, King Street, Clitheroe, as part of the entertainment at year's Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.
Clitheroe Town Mayor Sue Knox enjoys a performance by the Pendle Jazzmen at Maxwell's cafe/bar, King Street, Clitheroe, as part of the entertainment at year's Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.

More than 7,000 music lovers descended on Clitheroe at the weekend to enjoy this year’s Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.

The town centre and adjacent streets were bustling on Saturday with festival goers enjoying the music from the Castle Street stage alongside buskers there and at Clitheroe market.

Sue Lightbown, chairman of Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.

Sue Lightbown, chairman of Ribble Valley Jazz Festival.

A plethora of acts also played at Clitheroe’s The Atrium cafe at Clitheroe Castle, The Grand, York Street, Maxwells cafe/bar, Clitheroe’s United Reformed Church and the Rose and Crown pub on Castle Street.

The festival, which attracted a whole host of acclaimed artists such as Claire Martin and Ray Gelato, the Arun Ghosh Quintet, Courtney Pine and Zoe Rahman, to name just a few, opened on Thursday evening and finished on Bank Holiday Monday with a Salute to Glen Miller and the Dance Bands performed by the Northern Jazz Orchestra and the Sparkle Sisters at Clitheroe’s The Grand.

Due to the uncertainty of the weather, the festival’s organisers moved the Sunday and Monday Picnic in the Park Bandstand gigs into the warmth of St Michael and St John’s Social Centre on Lowergate in Clitheroe.

Chairman of Ribble Valley Jazz Festival Sue Lightbown said this year’s festival had exceeded all expectations.

“The festival was absolutely great and everything we wanted it to be. It was phenomenal.

“We were trying to provide a quality experience for people to share jazz and that’s exactly what happened.

“We had a higher number of sell out events and a higher number of top quality musicians than ever before.”

She added: “This is a festival of national credibility and prominence with top quality artists such as Courtney Pine saying that on stage. Musicians were saying how much they enjoy coming and how it is a true jazz festival that sticks to the ethos of a free music experience.”

This year the festival, which has been running for seven years, had Arun Ghosh and Paul J Rigby as its musicians-in-residence.

The introduction of musicians-in-residence is a festival innovation thanks to Arts Council England’s development grant.

One of the main aims of the Ribble Valley Jazz Club, which runs the festival and has worked closely with the University of Central Lancashire, is to make jazz music accessible to all including young musicians.

And as part of this initiative both musicians-in-residence worked with members of the Blackburn with Darwen Big Band prior to the festival. They then performed brand new music during Arun Ghosh’s two hour concert at The Grand.

For those getting withdrawal symptoms already, two post festival gigs are set to be staged soon. The first is on Friday June 3rd when the Omar Puente Quartet will play at The Grand, and on Friday July 1st when The Zoe Gilby Quartet will play at The Atrium cafe/bar. For more details visit: www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk

l Turn to page 18 for more pictures