Wigan's jazz festival on the move with first event at new venue

Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra at the festival launch
Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra at the festival launch

All that jazz is returning to the borough as one of Wigan’s best-known cultural events marks the latest chapter in its history by opening at a new venue.

This is the first Wigan International Jazz Festival to take place at Aspull’s Village on the Green following a decade at Robin Park.

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Festival organisers The Music Continuum decided the new venue would help create an atmosphere reminiscent of jazz’s famous, intimate clubs in the US.

And they are so confident the change will be a hit with audiences they have subtitled the 34th celebration of all things swing and syncopated Exciting New Beginnings.

Director and festival co-founder Ian Darrington MBE said: “It’s a very exciting year because we’ve moved and that has been proven by the ticket sales.

“We’ve got some of the biggest names in the world of jazz here in Wigan and with our audience I think we’re set for an absolutely brilliant event.

“With the new place I think we’re going to get an atmosphere, even with a medium-sized audience, which was very difficult to generate in a huge venue.

“We’ve also got late night sessions which just couldn’t function in a big room.”

Highlights of this year’s programme include Jazz Planets, a joint tribute to big band legend Duke Ellington and British composer Gustav Holst.

The popular Alan Barnes is coming to Wigan to mark his 60th birthday with his group Alan Barnes + 11 while Ian is particularly thrilled to welcome back singer Salena Jones, who is renowned for her interpretations of the Great American Songbook.

Lovers of international jazz will also be looking forward to the visit of Dan Shout,a South African musician who has previously impressed audiences at Wigan Jazz Club and is now returning for the festival, while The Power Trio are crossing the channel from Wigan's French twin town Angers.

Wigan International Jazz Festival runs from Thursday July 11 to Sunday July 14. A few Rover tickets, costing £125, are still available and there are also individual concert tickets.

Find out more at www.justaddtickets.co.uk and wiganjazzfest.co.uk