Music fans expected to fill town for Swanage Jazz Festival

The popular appeal of jazz by the sea means there’s just a few tickets left for the 31st Swanage Jazz Festival.

The oldest and largest pure jazz festival on the South Coast, features more than 60 bands in different venues across the town and takes place from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July 2022.

Swanage Jazz Festival launch 2022

The Swanage Jazz Festival committee with chair Paul Kelly (centre front)

Practically sold out

While the main ticketed events are practically sold out, the good news is that there’s still plenty of jazz available to see for free in Swanage, with 19 bands performing as part of the festival fringe.

The fringe performances are taking place over the long weekend at the pubs, White Swan, Red Lion and Black Swan, as well as the Grand Hotel and at Swanage Bandstand.

Swanage Jazz Festival launch 2022
Swanage Jazz Festival launch 2022

The festival founders Fred Lindop (left) and Mel Norris (centre) are thanked by the new festival chair, Paul Kelly (right)

Festival founders honoured

The Swanage Jazz Festival for 2022 was launched in May at The Mowlem, where Paul Kelly, chair of the festival honoured the festival founders, local residents Fred and Anita Lindop, John James and Mel Norris. They ran the Swanage Jazz Festival for an impressive 27 years until 2017.

This year, lots of the old traditions are back, with the festival kicking off on Friday afternoon with the Jazz Train leaving Swanage Station, followed by a dance at Harmans Cross Hall.

Saturday starts with the traditional festival parade at 10.15 am with James Emmett’s Ragtime Revellers including Ukrainian saxist Oleg Zaremskyl.

James Emmett's Ragtime Revellers
James Emmett’s Ragtime Revellers

James Emmett’s Ragtime Revellers will lead the traditional parad along Shore Road on Saturday morning

Nigel williams
Jazz FM

Jazz FM presenter Nigel Williams will be in Swanage for the jazz festival

Main hub at The Mowlem

Rather than have a marquee at Sandpit Field as in previous years, the main hub for the festival this year is The Mowlem which is hosting the British Bahrani trumpet player Yazz Ahmed on Saturday evening and the 18 piece Simon Spillett Big Band on Sunday. Jazz FM breakfast presenter Nigel Williams will be the compere at The Mowlem on Sunday.

There’s also Jazz inspired films being shown at The Mowlem in conjunction with the Purbeck Film Festival. On Friday at 5 pm there’s the Disney/Pixar animated film Soul, followed at 8 pm by the Miles Davis biopic The Birth of the Cool. No advance booking required.

Other ticketed performances are at the Swanage Conservative Club, The Centre, Purbeck House Hotel and the Swanage Methodist Church.

Swanage Jazz Festival launch 2022

Chair of the festival Paul Kelly with Swanage Town Mayor Tina Foster, who welcomes the contribution the jazz festival makes to Swanage

“Another Swanage success story”

Chair of the festival Paul Kelly said:

“I’m delighted that we are on track to hit our sales targets on tickets. This is another Swanage success story.

“We look forward to entertaining everyone across a jazz-filled long weekend. The jazz bus is back to transport people between venues and with the fringe festival events free, there’s really no excuse not to get involved!”

Salamanda swing band
Salamanda swing band

Swanage’s Salamanda Swing Band will be performing at the Methodist church from 7 pm on Friday 8th July 2020

Free fringe festival programme 2020

Friday 8th July

  • White Swan – 8 pm Spiral
  • Red Lion – 7.30 pm Sarah Bolter ‘Not Just Sax’
  • Grand Hotel – 8 pm The Terri Quaye Trio

Saturday 8th July

  • White Swan – 8 pm Ian Ellis Trio
  • Red Lion – 2 pm Rob Palmer and Veronique Joly, 8 pm Tom Gwyther Kind of Blue
  • Grand Hotel – 2 pm Tom Gwyther, 4 pm Jazz Knots, 6 pm Bossa Definitiva Trio, 8 pm Mambossa
  • Swanage Bandstand – The Swanage Big Band

Sunday 9th July

  • White Swan – 8 pm Zoe Schwarz and Rob Koral
  • Red Lion – 1 pm Sarah Bolter ‘Not Just Sax’
  • Black Swan – 3 pm The Sara Harris Trio
  • Grand Hotel – 2 pm Dave Marchant, 4 pm Chantoozy, 6 pm Sara Harris, 8 pm The Damian Cook Quartet
  • Swanage Bandstand – 2.30 pm The Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra
Sarah Bolter
Sarah Bolter

Bournemouth-based musician Sarah Bolter ‘Not Just Sax’ will be performing at the Red Lion on Friday and Sunday

Special performance at St Mary’s Church

There’s also a special performance at St Mary’s Church at 1 pm on Sunday, entitled Salvator Mundi and billed as ‘where organ music meets jazz improvisation’.

It was originally planned to be part of the festival in 2020 with the award winning film composer and jazz pianist John Ashton Thomas playing the church organ. Sadly the festival was cancelled that year due to covid and John died in 2021 at the age of just 60.

John Ashton Thomas performing at the 2019 Swanage Jazz Festival

“Impromptu performance that could not be faulted”

Paul Kelly said:

“John played a small but significant role at our 2019 festival. John’s son Jack is the drummer with Tom Waters’ Band that opened the Methodist church programme on the festival Saturday.

“When it was clear that part of Tom Waters’ band were stuck in traffic and unlikely to make the gig, John swung into action.

“With several helpers he manhandled an upright piano from a back room of the church onto the stage and then sat down to dep on the instrument for an impromptu performance that could not be faulted for its style and quality.

“That was typical of the man, practical, generous and supportive.”

Stepping in, this time for John, will be director of music at St Mary’s, Simon Lole. The hour-long performance is free to attend and everyone is welcome.

Further information

Jazz Festival Poster

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