AFTER only just avoiding a total washout last summer, one of Worcestershire’s biggest music festivals is going back to its roots.
This summer the Upton International Jazz Festival is abandoning its customary home on the flood plain of Fish Meadow and heading back into the town itself, where the music first began 28 years ago.
Last year, torrential rain at the last minute flooded the riverside site, forcing the closure of two of the four festival marquees.
Concerts had to be moved at short notice into Upton Parish Church and Hanley Castle High School and treasurer Roger Sutton said organisers were keen to avoid any repeat of the disruption.
Negotiations have been going on ever since last year’s event and Mr Sutton said he was delighted to announce the festival’s return to the town – where he feels it belongs.
“We can’t predict the weather and it’s becoming increasingly unpredictable,” he said. “Coupled with that, we’ve been hearing that the town has felt rather abandoned by the festival since it moved to Fish Meadow.
“In recent years you’ve been able to walk through Upton on the Saturday night and not even know a festival is going on. It’s time to put that right.”
He said the move would not affect the festival’s traditional star-studded line-up, with more than 40 bands already booked to perform between Friday and Sunday, June 28 to 30. They will be taking the stage in the church, Upton Sports Club and a huge marquee on the free car park in Old Street.
Memorial Hall and riverside pubs the Star and the Talbot will also be hosting concerts, while there will be jam sessions at Upton Social Club and the traditional ‘Under the Bridge’ venue will continue on the riverbank.
Camping and car parking will remain on Fish Meadow, with contingency plans already in place in case the weather does its worst.
Mr Sutton hopes the move will give the festival “new energy” as well as providing a financial boost for local businesses.
Weekend and single-day tickets are on sale now, with reduced prices for bookings made before May 1.
For more details or to buy, visit uptonjazz.co.uk or call 01684 593254.