Jazz Festival takes over the town


So many people coming to the Jazz Festival Kino outdoor stage events over the bank holiday weekend couldn’t believe that all the performances were free of charge. How can this be? The simple answer is through sponsorship, patronage and grant funding and a lot of detailed negotiation which made this possible.

The Kino courtyard was transformed from a tranquil escape route for a chat and a coffee to a thriving mass of festival visitors, basking in the glorious sunshine whilst delighting in the variety of music and talent coming from the outdoor stage.

Live bands entertain a full house during the searing bank holiday heat.

A small army of volunteer marshals and security staff made sure all went to plan, without their support and time the festival would not have been the huge success it was.

This year the mission statement was to deliver excellence and a wide variety of artists and musical influences and without doubt, both promises were fulfilled.

There were so many highlights, too many to mention and with so many different styles of music, most tastes were catered for from jazz funk, blues and roots, rock blues, New Orleans jazz, retro swing and Latino curves to neo soul, African and Portuguese blues, lyrical jazz and permeated blues, to name but a few!

The Kino courtyard was comfortably packed, dancers took to the aisles and front of stage, the Harvey’s beer tent was in full swing and Park Farm butchers put on a hog roast for all to enjoy.

Outside in the Buttermarket were the spoken-word workshops, another new dimension for the festival this year, the white painted and locally donated piano took pride of place outside, by the end of the festival it was festooned with painted hand (and foot) prints which attracted a continuous queue of children delighted at the prospect of getting paint on their hands and with parental approval to boot, bliss!

Painted hands and professional hands, joined together in perfect harmony.

Our very own town crier, Paul Goring was invaluable, dressed in his regal attire and despite potentially drowning in his own perspiration delivered various ‘crys’ during the festival and proudly led the Dat brass band as they toured the streets of Rye with a stirring performance.

It was like a scene from The Pied Piper as they attracted quite a following of supporters who accompanied them all the way including a quick stop off at The Cinque Ports Arms for a little light refreshment.

The guests on the new garden terrace at Rye Lodge Hotel enjoyed an unscheduled stop-off by the band as the Sousaphonist scaled the boundary wall, got into position and took the band to new heights. A fabulous performance from musicians so young.

It was a busy day at the Buttermarket on Saturday, punctuated by a mid-afternoon wedding. Nobody was more surprised than the bride and groom as they stepped out into the street expecting to be greeted by family and friends which indeed they were, plus a few hundred extra ‘guests’ who just happened to be there too. A great photo opportunity and a good time was had by all.

A further outdoor highlight was the Harvey’s Dray and horses, back by very popular demand. They started and ended their tour from Rye College, stopping at the Buttermarket for photos and a break from the intense heat. A beautiful spectacle and the two gentle giants were on their best behaviour, delighting the crowds.

What a lovely sight, so calm and so well looked after.

The remaining fringe and outdoor events included performances at Landgate (Knoops) and Hilders Cliff with street jazz and blues, the painted street pianos were very popular and a huge success and with free master classes at the Community Centre any visitor to Rye couldn’t help but be impressed.

The Gallivant hosted a jazz breakfast with Herbie Flowers, a sellout performance by one of the worlds greats with Son Yambu and Planet Cuba taking over in the afternoon delivering an eclectic mix of Cuban rhythms and vibrant, foot tapping music.

The Ship Inn hosted the Danny Bolan Blues to a packed house, Simply Italian hosted Half Moon Panic and Fabulous Red Diesel which also drew huge crowds and at the Kings Head, Bluesette Jazz wowed the audience. Late night diners at The Devil in Rye were treated to live jazz and blues and later that night the venue was transformed into a late night jazz lounge featuring Liane Carroll and Earl Okin.

Fabulous Red Diesel appeal to fans of all ages

The headline concerts in St Mary’s church delivered incredible talent and superb performances and which are covered in a separate article. From those who came along to the festival the feedback has been very positive, the bar has been raised once more, keep an eye on Rye News for more exciting announcements coming soon.

Image Credits: Nick Forman , Tony Ham .

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