Did you know that the Vale of Glamorgan has it’s own Jazz & Blues music festival, held right in the heart of the Vale, located in and around and Barry? Run by a very small committee of dedicated music fans, it’s abut to enter its third year of operation.
Back in Summer 2014, Councillor Richard Bertin proposed the Vale needed even more live music, a small team gathered to put on the first show, meeting monthly they arranged a completely free to attend Jazz & Blues Weekend in the Vale, thanks to kind sponsorship from Arts Council Wales, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Barry Town Council, breweries, pub committees, venue owners and independent sponsors. The event was hailed a great success by those who attended, despite difficulties with promoting at very last minute. Highlights, to name but two, included Dale Storr, with “absolutely astonishing” boogie woogie piano and Remi Harris Trio, about which was said, “This is world class, you would pay a fortune to see this in London. I feel incredibly lucky to be here!”
Rolling on to Festival Weekend number 2 – a whole year in planning, the team grew to include Mike Duggan, local Music Promoter, featured in an Interview for the Daily Vale in November, Mike Collard and a few others we lost along the way, it really does take a great deal of dedication, time and compromise, working to deadlines and finding a variety of ways to raise funds. We maintained a completely free to attend weekend with thanks to the generosity of Barry Town Council, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Newydd Housing and venues Coffee Cove and Wine Bar, Barry West End, The Park Hotel, Wyndham Club, The Borough Arms we managed to put on an equally as successful event in a weekend full of alternative jazz, blues and beyond.
Heading into our third year, the organising team has reduced in size again, we have submitted grant applications to the local councils and hope that our partnerships with the venues will continue in 2017.
Team Coordinator, myself, Gemma Collard, hopes to continue the hard work and commitment already made in setting up the festival to continue the success of hosting live jazz in the Vale. As one fan put it, “It’s been the highlight of my Spring for two years now” – would be a great shame for it to not continue. I really hope we can maintain our free to attend status, it’s very important to us not to eliminate potential audience figures by adding entrance fees, as many people tell us they don’t like jazz, or are even ‘too young’ to listen, so we really hope that by being free to attend we encourage people to come out of their homes and listen to something new. There will be covers of songs you know alongside completely new music and that’s what makes it exciting, I feel. I’ll be relying heavily on family and friends to help me through the organisation of this year, Councillor Bertin continues to be part of the time but will be busy around our scheduled date – May 19-20-21 – with the election. We’ve some firm favourite acts pencilled in for the forthcoming Weekend, should funding come through for us again, as well as, of course, the new, the unexpected and the exciting potential of new venues and new audiences. I’ve been approached by artists from Buenos Aires, Texas and Missouri so word is spreading and it’s a real compliment for artists to ask to play your event, especially as one of those has a rather famous Father in Blues history.
So, if you’d like to get involved somehow, if you know an artist we’d be interested in, if you know a venue we could use, if you can help us financially, if you know somebody we could email/tweet/write/send a pigeon to to get our name out there please get in touch.
Visit us on Facebook @Vale Jazz Weekend/Barry Jazz Blues, Tweet us @Vale_JAZZfest, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07860577767