Thousands of jazz and blues fans converged on the Ribble Valley from all over the UK for a May Bank Holiday weekend of great music.
There was music and merriment in the streets, in pubs, clubs and bigger venues as more than 300 of the finest British and international musicians served up a treat over the three days of the fourth annual Ribble Valley Jazz Blues’ 4th Annual Jazz Festival.
The festival brought a multitude of visitors to Clitheroe, and while most were from the North West, others were from towns and cities across Britain, and from as far away as London, Bury St Edmunds, Nottingham, Scarborough, and Gateshead.
The Blues Stage at the Rose and Crown Hotel was full of festival fans on all three afternoon sessions.
The Saturday Street Festival in Castle Street, organised by Valley Gigs, staged free jazz from mid-morning to late afternoon.
Big crowds enjoyed Trad Jazz from Bourbon Street Roof Raisers.
More jazz came from community bands, Blowjangles, The Jam Factory, and young local band Pacific Lamppost.
Bands and community choirs played at other venues around town, at the Ribble Valley Art Studios, and in Clitheroe Market.
Jazz fans experienced festival highlights at The Grand Theatre and Atrium Cafe Bar.
The James Taylor Quartet’s jazz-funk had fans dancing for most of the evening after a fine session from The John Wickham Trio, a local youth jazz band, had thrilled the audience with original compositions.
Organ star James Taylor said The Grand was the best small theatre he had experienced outside London.
Four headline bands performed at The Grand during the weekend. In addition to JTQ there was a stunning performance from Liane Carroll, UK Jazz Vocalist of the Year 2012.
She thrilled a packed audience with inspiring songs, fine piano playing, plus wit and charm that brought a total standing ovation!
Attractive performances from Georgina Jackson and the Northern Jazz Orchestra were backed by the new local big band, the Ribble Valley
Jazz Collective, and got big audiences.
The Atrium Cafe Bar in Clitheroe Castle Grounds has proved to be a fine festival venue over four years.
For Fest2013 it hosted six bands, with notable contributions from double
header, Matt Holborn and Tantz, and from The Wonderful Sound of the Cinema Organ, a young band from Leeds College of Music, whose gig was enjoyed by the Ribble Valley Mayor and Mayoress in one of their last civic engagements.
Financial support from both Ribble Valley Borough Council and Clitheroe Town Council helped Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues promote the festival more effectively this year, and enabled the introduction of new features including the Street Festival, and Freebird’s outreach gig at Chipping Village Hall.
Sue Lightbown, Chair of Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues, was pleased the festival had been a huge success, delighting local and UK jazz fans.
She said, “Our objectives in organising the Annual Jazz Festival are to make a social, cultural and economic impact on the town and borough.
“We feel we have done this, especially by attracting new visitors from far afield, many of who have vowed to return in 2014.”
Sue added: “Thanks to widespread support and co-operation we have already been talking about Festival 2014 and intend to start planning after a review of 2013 on Friday this week.”