Thursday, August 13, 2009

Theme Thursday - Our Festival

Last night I spent a couple of hours in a rather dismal upstairs room of a Working Man's Club discussing plastic coffee cups. And road closures. And whether we should invest in 50 stuffed sheep toys as prizes for the tombola stall. Such evenings take place about every four weeks. When not discussing T-shirt designs, litter collections or the logistics of seat arrangements, this little band of volunteers of whom I am proud to be a member will be trying to persuade local businesses to take out an advert, local Councillors to provide us with a few pounds in funding, or local residents that one weekend of communal fun is worth the sacrifice of a tiny bit of temporary disruption. For this is Marsden, set high on the moors where Yorkshire blends into Lancashire. Marsden with its stone mills, its narrow canal, and its rows of terraced houses. Marsden : the home of the annual Marsden Jazz Festival.
I have served on the organising committee of the Marsden Jazz Festival for eight years or so. Marsden is not the biggest festival on the circuit and it certainly isn't the richest. We limp along from year to year with the help of a little sponsorship from local businesses, a few grants from the Council and other public bodies, and a massive infusion of help, support and enthusiasm of a band of volunteers. Volunteers who take the tickets, make the teas, sweep the floors, and move the chairs. Volunteers who are equally driven by their love of the music and by the pleasure of being part of a Festival that gives pleasure to countless visitors each year.
This years' Festival will take place over the weekend of the 9th/10th/11th of October. We have headline acts such as Georgie Fame and Ian Shaw. But we are equally as proud of the fact that we will once again provide a venue for countless school and college jazz bands and a platform for some new bands who continue to push back the boundaries of jazz. If you are around these parts in early October why not drop in and see us. If not, spare us a thought and hope for a rain-free weekend.
As the Festival weekend approaches preparations get more and more frantic. There are leaflets to write, exhibitions to organise, rotas to draw up. It will be hard work. But come October, when the sound of a band is drifting down the valley from one of the stages it will all be worth it. After all, it is not any festival : it is our festival.
See other Theme Thursday posts by following these links.

23 comments:

  1. Alan - this year's previously postponed Annual Folly House Gig takes place on Sunday. We're praying for good weather and that everyone brings a bottle.

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  2. I love jazz, wish I was there :)

    xoxo

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  3. Alan, glad to see Jazz is alive and well in Marsden, yes! 'Tis a good feeling volunteering for something you have a passion for, wot? Cheers :)

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  4. Sounds like a great time. Jazz Fests as opposed to rock fests. Yes!

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  5. Wow - from the pictures it looks as if you have a little bit of N'awlins right in the Yorkshire Dales.

    I was at an English fete when I was a little girl. I remember it vividly from the bran dip to the coconut shy. Right out of Rupert Bear. I hope it remains so.

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  6. October is my favorite time of year. If I was anywhere near your neck of the wooods, I would surely be there! Love jazz.

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  7. Sounds like a great festival and one that stays close to it;s roots. Here in Ottawa, Canada we have a Bluesfest. But it has strayed from blues. This year KISS headlined. *Pfft*

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  8. Often it's the little festivals that are the most lively, interesting, and really allow one to listen, realizing that talent is all around us.

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  9. Thanks for all your comments. And don't forget if you are driving over the moors between Yorkshire and Lancashire on a misty evening in October, stop for a while in Marsden and enjoy the music.

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  10. A jazz festival would be fun....love that music and it would definitely set the mood!

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  11. Huh! Georgie Fame! That's a name I haven't heard in a while. I guess I lost track of him after he stopped working with Van Morrison. That's great that you're on the committee putting this festival together, and that the festival fosters young talent.

    BTW, are you the Alan Burnett who just published an article in the Herald Scotland about Janet Horne, the last witch burned in Scotland? I just read that the other day and wondered if the author was the same Alan Burnett I knew from Blogger.

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  12. Roy : Georgie Fame is still going strong and playing a lot of jazz. I saw him at the Scarborough Festival a couple of years ago and we have been trying to get him to Marsden for years. The tickets for the gig sold out within a few hours of going on sale. As for the witch article : not guilty - it is another Alan Burnett.

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  13. What a good thing this festival sounds like. Our local small town music festival starts tomorrow & runs thru Sunday--I'll be playing Saturday afternoon. Best wishes for fun & fine weather at yours!

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  14. sounds like a great festival. i love jazz

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  15. I remember living in NYC, the town with great jazz stations, sigh... -Jayne

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  16. PS. come to my blog to collect an award... -Jayne

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  17. Not a huge fan of Jazz . .well I wasn't until my son introduced me to a lot more. Living with a musician can have it's moments. I hope the weather holds for you it sounds like a lot of fun even if it is tricky to plan.

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  18. Whew that sounds like a lot of work - but obviously worth it!

    Good luck in the coming months. Wish I could be there.

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  19. No banjos need apply!

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  20. Now that sounds like a lot of fun, not the planning but the festival.. LOL:)

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  21. MARSDEN! Hey Good Work! To My Shame I Havnt Been Yet but Ive heard many a good thing about The Festival.Keep On Rocking Sir!

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  22. I like traditional jazz, Alan. The other sort leaves me cold. I only ever went to one open air festival held in a large park in Birmingham. I enjoyed it immensely but I don't think the neighbours were very pleased.

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  23. Sorry, I'm a bit behind in my blog reading this week. Great post and very interesting. Wish I was close enough to attend.

    Thank you for your efforts on behalf of others though.

    I also want to thank you for your visits to my blog. Loving hearing from you.

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