The 35th Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival will present 225 performances in 111 venues in the 10 days from July 19th to 28th. That’s an average of more than 40 hours of live music every day – and almost all of it is free admission. Cafes, bars, shopping centres, street corners, libraries, museums, restaurants, and hotels as well as a canal boat, and a doctor’s surgery will be packed with jumping, jiving jazz and blues fans enjoying the best free jazz and blues party in Europe.
There will be musicians from the UK, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, and France, delivering a heady mixture of Dixieland Jazz, blues, swing, bebop, big band, and gypsy jazz. The swing and gypsy music craze currently sweeping Paris will be well-represented in the festival with four jazz attractions from the City of Lights: Les Zauto Stompers de Paris, Leila Duclos et Didier Conchon, Florence Joelle, and The Dirty Ragtimers.
There are six free Jitterbug: Just What The Doctor Ordered sessions – free dance lessons for beginners and intermediates of all ages: You’re Never Alone with a Uke where youngsters of all ages are encouraged to spend an hour learning the basics of playing a ukulele before giving a show performance.
The Festival also features a photography workshop, setting and assessing assignments and presenting the best work in the Photography Shoot Out. Then there’s the Sketch Crawl. That’s just like a pub crawl, but without the beer. Well, not always without the beer.
Editors Note: Only a few venues in the JQ are taking part this year, including the Lord Clifden, The Jam House, and St Paul’s Square.