The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival has launched a crowdfunder campaign to save the event after a combination of challenging circumstances have threatened its future. In spite of returning for its seventh edition this year, the festival’s move away from the city’s Colston Hall (due to its ongoing refurbishment), receiving minimal funding and lost ticket sales last year due to extreme wintery weather caused by ‘the beast from the east’, have all contributed to its current financial straits. The festival has featured international names such as Dr John, Arturo Sandoval, Maceo Parker and Melody Gardot, alongside local heroes Andy Sheppard, Get The Blessing and Pee Wee Ellis (all pictured above) as well as countless new and emerging bands.
The festival’s artistic director Denny Illet commented on the decision to start the fundraising appeal: “In these challenging and confusing times, I feel we need entertaining now more than ever! With music being stripped away from school curriculums, funding for the arts at an all-time low and festivals, clubs and arts centres struggling to survive, we hope that you will join us in helping reverse this alarming trend by supporting our efforts to bring world class jazz and blues to Bristol, as well as continuing to provide creative opportunities to local musicians.”
The festival aims to raise £30,000 to ensure the future of the event, which has seen almost 3,000 local and international musicians perform, provided masterclasses and school workshops and attracted over 12,000 people annually to its free and ticketed events.
– Mike Flynn