KIRKCUDBRIGHT JAZZ FESTIVAL
A Celebration of Trad New Orleans, Dixieland and Swing Jazz in South West Scotland
19TH KIRKCUDBRIGHT JAZZ FESTIVAL
Thursday 9th - Sunday 12th JUNE 2016
We had a wonderful time at this year's Festival - great bands, good weather, full venues and a really appreciative crowd who enjoyed everything on offer. Many thanks to everyone who attended, whether playing, listening or helping - it worked really well. If you would like to provide us any feedback (bands, venues, catering, bars, tickets, dining, support or whatever) then please email us with your comments.
And remember - the dates for the
20th Kirkcudbright Jazz Festival
Thursday 8th - Sunday 11th June 2017
(Further website editing will take place in due course)
The 19th annual festival in this unique small Scottish town will endeavour to maintain the high musical standards set by previous festivals. Visitors will have the chance to enjoy top class and highly professional artistes, some on a first time visit, as well as some old favourites, ensuring that the festival caters for jazz lovers of all ages who appreciate quality as well as variety in their entertainment.
Held from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th June 2016, it is a great time to visit this least populated area of Dumfries & Galloway, only an hour’s drive north of Carlisle. It is known as “the artists' town” because, like St Ives in Cornwall, it has that special kind of light, particularly at sunset, which attracted and continues to attract may successful artists to live and work in the region.
A great lineup - something for everyone
The 2016 Festival has a programme of bands and groups, some new to Kirkcudbright, some making a welcome return and featuring international and national musicians, playing a varied selection of hot, swinging, toe-tapping music which should appeal to a wide audience.
From eight o’ clock on Thursday 9th to midnight on Sunday 12th June 2016, some seventeen bands, groups and solo performers will appear in venues throughout Kirkcudbright providing over eighty hours of musical entertainment.
Opening the festival in rousing style, stalwarts of the Scottish jazz scene, the Penman Jazzmen from Glasgow and The Big Easy, the Leeds-based swing band, will feature on Thursday evening in the Royal Hotel and Church Hall. The Penman band return after a successful 2015 appearance at the Festival while The Big Easy are making a first appearance, bringing their energetic and varied selection of swing from the early days of jazz, classic New Orleans tunes and lively jump-jive.
And there’s more to come when the above bands are joined on the Friday afternoon by The Kirkcudbright International All Stars featuring, from Germany, Thomas l'Etienne and Uli Wunner on reeds, from Holland, Harry Kanters on piano and from Scotland, Kenny Milne on drums and Ken Macdonald on bass. The evening lights up with a lineup including Kevin Grenfell's Jazz Giants and the TJ Johnson Band - one of the top requests for an appearance from our previous Festival-goers - playing in our new venue, the wonderfully refurbished Cochran Hall on the grounds of Kirkcudbright Academy. We are delighted to have this available, with plenty of space, top acoustics and great facilities, very conveniently sited just through from the Tollbooth (see our new Festival locations map here). Meanwhile on the same evening you have the option of both old favourites Mart Rodger Manchester Jazz and the Savannah Jazz Band playing in the Parish Church Hall, an existing venue that we are pleased to have retained. The Friday evening lineup is rounded out by local group the Sulwath Syncopators and Friends who will be playing in the cosy and atmospheric Greyfriars venue.
And from Saturday yet more bands from across the country join us to keep the tempo going. Amongst these are some firm favourites from past Festivals, including the Dave Donohoe Band and Mike Lovell’s Six-In-A-Bar, while we are delighted to have secured appearances by Ken Mathieson's Classic Jazz Orchestra, Spats Langham's Hot Fingers and the wonderful tribute Hamish McGregor's "Remembering Acker". All of these, together with a further appearance from some of the bands on Friday, will be playing at the key venues across the town, including a number of dining locations. Late addition: John Fenner with Mike Daly & Tommy Evans will be playing at John Maxwell's "The Clubhouse" venue at Kirkcudbright Golf Club on Friday evening - see the Jazz Dining page for more information. A member of Kenny Ball's Jazzmen during their heyday, John has played at the Festival in past years (though not recently) and is making a welcome return in this relatively small and intimate venue.
Step Out and Show Off
Many of the musicians from these bands will come together to form the Kirkcudbright All Stars Parade Band which, with parade marshals and “Brolly Dollies” will lead a decorated Brolly parade through the streets of the town at 11 am. Following the parade there will be a free concert in the Parish Church Hall of music and song from the International All Stars.
Check out a video of last year's Brolly Parade here.
Dinner and Jazz - a pefect combination!
One of the features of the Festival is the “jazz dine-around” on each of the Thursday to Sunday evenings, with small groups or soloists providing music for diners in the intimate setting of local restaurants the Auld Alliance and the Castle Street Bistro, usually from 6 to 8 pm. The groups appearing this year are yet to be finalised and further information will be posted as soon as arrangements are confirmed. These events are very popular and bookings should be made directly with the restaurants to avoid disappointment. On the Saturday evening two larger dining venues will host bigger groups, with Kevin Grenfell's Jazz Giants entertaining at the Selkirk Arms Hotel and the Kirkcudbright International All Stars appearing at the Cocoa Bean Chocolate Factory. Again, both venues have proved very popular and we strongly recommend you book in advance if you want a fine evening's entertainment and eating out - see our Jazz Dine-Around page.
A Rousing Finish
On Sunday we start the day with the lively Jazz Church Services in the Parish Church Hall under the direction of Rev Douglas Irving with music by the Sulwath Syncopators and Friends and in Greyfriars Church with the Dave Donohoe Band. Following the Church Services, sessions by Ken Mathieson's Classic Jazz Orchestra, Mike Lovell's Six-in-a-Bar and the Jazzaholics will liven up the afternoon. We then congregate at our new focal location, the Cochran Hall, for a really rousing final Festival evening with Spats Langham's Hot Fingers, Hamish McGregor's "Remembering Acker", the Kirkcudbright International All Stars and the Dave Donohoe Band keeping us bouncing through to midnight.
People sometimes say “I don’t like jazz” but the music of this Festival is mainly from the 1920s and 30s, is very melodic, features songs from “The Great American Songbook”, is excellent for dancing and will be played with great skill and love by the band members so come along and give it a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
The programmes, on sale at a number of outlets in Kirkcudbright, show this year’s festival again promising to provide locals and visitors with an extravagant feast of entertainment and fine musicianship played in a variety of styles and catering for all tastes.
For further information on the festival please call 01557 330467. Festival tickets will be available from The Working Print Studio, 28 St Mary Street, Kirkcudbright; programmes will be on sale in a number of local shops and from band venues on Festival days. See also the Tickets Page on this site.