2011 was a fantastic year for Lancaster Jazz Festival. It was essentially our first year and although we would be the first to admit there were things to improve upon, on the whole it was a storming success with fantastic music, musicians, volunteers, venues and, of course, audiences.
The entire festival was produced with a ridiculously small amount of money and our budget for publicity was in no way ideal but we still saw awesome audience numbers that far surpassed our expectations as well as great turnouts at our workshops and supported events. This was, in a large part down to the fantastic team of volunteers that worked night and day behind the scenes to try and make the festival happen as well as the great support we got from venues and artists who all believed in what we are doing and were willing to take the risks involved in helping put on a large event. But also it was down to the people who came down to experience something different and/or are passionate about live music. It is the same people who help support the fantastic live music scene we have around Lancaster and the North West - without our audiences we couldn’t exist. We got great feedback from our artists who praised our audiences for not only turning up but also for their intense listening ability and understanding.
We really wanted to know what our audiences thought so throughout the festival we asked you, our audience, for your opinions and here is what you said:
“The publicity/booklet was excellent - worth repeating”
“A beautiful feast of coming togetherness”
“Seeing young talents playing was great!”
“More balanced programming with more jazz styles”
“The spontaneity and team work was my favourite thing”
“A brilliant weeklong event with such a wide range of talented musicians”
“Asaf Sirkis and Eyal Maoz were unbelievable”
“Too much improvisational stuff”
“I would have liked the programme to have included some jazz standards”
“More bands, more venues, (more work)”
“Liked the options to participate is certain events as well as to listen”
“Workshops brought new and exciting ideas”
“A most excellent effort by everyone concerned”
“Was not expecting posh rap”
Planning is well underway for next years Lancaster Jazz Festival and with all this (and a lot more) in mind here’s a brief overview of what to expect:
- A big name headline act
- Cutting the main festival events to 3 so that they can become bigger and better, more focused - programming the best in UK jazz - whilst expanding the festival with a load of smaller events in a variety of venues featuring the best in local talent.
- A ton more of publicity
- More workshops that are open to anyone as well as a series of community outreach workshops.
- A widely publicised call for submissions for artists wanting to perform.
as well as loads more…
This blog is a new thing and we’ll be keeping you posted with all big things that happen at Lancaster Jazz Festival here as well as keeping you posted on the facebook and twitter (it’ll be kept up to date by people who have far more interesting things to say than me as well)
Also, in the next couple of months we hope to be set up formally as a charity and as a result we are looking for trustees - more detail will be available soon for anyone who wants to consider getting involved in this way. ‘Friends of Lancaster Jazz’ will also be launching soon giving people the chance to get advanced news of events and tickets as well as friend benefits and chances to really influence what goes on at Lancaster Jazz Festival.
So watch this space...
Matt Robinson - Festival Director