Jazz has not been "overwhelmed", it is thriving

First published in Letters

IN response to B Johnson's letter in the Malvern Gazette (Festival flop, May 9).

I strongly refute the writer's ill-researched assertion that "jazz has been overwhelmed".

Alan Buckley's long-planned and mutually-agreed departure has had no bearing on the future of the festival, as this letter imputes. In fact, with new, highly experienced musical director Rachel Hayward in place, the musical offering is stronger than ever.

Every business must evolve in order to thrive, and Upton Jazz Festival is no exception. It is why, this year, we have brought in Brass Volcanoes to lead the street parades, in place of Lamarotte, with whom we have enjoyed a long and happy relationship.

Brass Volcanoes played at both the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and are highly regarded the world over – hardly a symbol of the festival's 'demise', as B Johnson erroneously suggests.

Moreover, there are no marquees on Fish Meadow, as there were not last year, because of the impact of the 2012 floods which were widely reported in your newspaper.

Instead, we are creating a lively festival village in the heart of town, on the sports field, with marquees, bars and a campsite.

With 60 concerts over three days, a whole new dance section, world-class bands and a wide range of jazz styles – boogie woogie, European, hot club, Dixieland, New Orleans and trad – this year's jazz festival is bigger and better than ever.

We are pleased to have the full support of the town's traders and accommodation providers – the festival brings in a significant amount of money to Upton's economy – and are looking forward to increased numbers of visitors again this year.

Ticket sales – prices of which have been held for the past three years – are significantly up on this time last year.

So no, B Johnson, jazz has not been "overwhelmed", it is thriving. And we look forward to many more years down by the riverside in June.

David Harrison

Chairman

International Upton Jazz Festival

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