Swindon's Jazz & Soul Festival to return for 2023 with star headliners

By Jessica Durston - 26 January 2023

Arts and Culture

This year the Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival will return to Old Town with performances from Omar Lye Fook MBE and QCBA.

Omar will be joined by QCBA to form the headlining act for the festival

The third Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival will take place this year within Christ Church and its grounds in Old Town, on Friday 14 April & Saturday 15 April 2023.

This year, organisers say they are extremely honoured to be supported with public funding by Arts Council England. There will also be a new musical element added to the event.

The event now includes a showcase of music from Africa. As well as a full day of live music with musicians from Zimbabwe, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Caribbean artists from Dominica and Trinidad, the event will see the hosting of African drum workshops for local schools, and a dance workshop for attendees on the Saturday of the live music event.

The music will start with a Soul evening on Friday 14 April headlined by Nu Soul and Jazz artist Omar Lye Fook MBE, and the star studded Jazz collective QCBA.

A spokesperson for the event added: "Omar Lye Fook MBE is one of the greatest soul music talents the UK has produced in the last 40 years. Many legendary artists have lined up to collaborate with him musically, or simply sing his praises–from Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Common, through to Carleen Anderson, D’Angelo, and Angie Stone.

"Furthermore, QCBA is the brainchild of Quentin Collins (Trumpet) and Brandon Allen (Saxophone). They are a Hammond organ driven quartet of virtuosos playing smart, sassy, contemporary original music, influenced by the great Blue Note era of 1960s. Completing the line-up are the masterful Ross Stanley (Organ) and James Maddren (Drums)."

The live music showcase then continues on Saturday 15 April with a full day and night of Jazz music, featuring acts such as former BBC Young Musician of the year Xhosa Cole, internationally-acclaimed reedsman (and also Bad Manners’ saxophonist) Adrian Cox, Gypsy Jazz quartet Swing From Paris, and local pianist Gary Bamford.

Festival director Evie Em-Jay said: "This year is the most exciting Swindon Jazz & Soul Festival so far as thanks to Arts Council Funding we can now incorporate workshops for schools and a larger music line up. There are many thousands of applications for funding so I’m extremely honoured to have been chosen this year especially as the arts industry is still recovering after the pandemic.

"I hope that the event reaches even more music fans as the best way to experience music is live and with others. I’m very pleased to once again hold the event at Christ Church as it’s a stunning setting and a great hub of the community."

The Festival is also being sponsored by Los Gatos - who say they are currently enjoying their new expansion in Old Town.

Limited Early Yardbird tickets are now available, plus one or two day ticket options. Under 16’s are able to enter the event for free.

Tickets can be purchased from https://ccccswindon.co.uk/page/tickets

For full line up announcements those interested can follow Swindon Jazz & Soul festival on Facebook and Instagram.

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