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LEEDS JAZZ FESTIVAL: ‘Music:Leeds’

We’re excited to say the inaugural Leeds Jazz Festival is kicking off on Wednesday 1st June, and in anticipation, the Welcome to Leeds stage event lineup has been announced!

 

The Welcome to Leeds Stage at Leeds Jazz Festival brings together the ‘Launchpad’.

 

Led by ‘Music:Leeds’, ‘Jazz Leeds’ and ‘Jazz North’ curating a selection of emerging and diverse talent to entertain in the family friendly, open air free stage on Cookridge Street across the extended Bank Holiday weekend, Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June. It’s not to be missed. Lots of exciting shows, talents, music to be heard throughout the event at all its venues. 

 

The wider festival programme, taking place between 1st and 12th June 2022, celebrates the wide diversity of Jazz in the city; from experimental jam nights to all-day parties featuring some of the hottest local and national DJs, and a whole range of ticketed and free to access gigs in between.

 

Events across the festival include Super Friendz World Island two-dayer across Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House, independent record label Tight Lines’ Salèmango festival at Hyde Park Book Club, JazzLeeds promotions at Seven Arts, a JazzLeeds and Howard Assembly Room co-promotion of Issie Barratt’s ‘Interchange’, DJ Lubi presents events at Brudenell Social Club, including TC & The Groove Family and Jasmine Myra.

 

Check out the full programme here:

 

https://www.leedsjazzfestival.com/events

 

Continue reading a quick chat to learn more about the festival, Leeds’ position as “jazz’s second city,” and other possible future plans.

 

Leeds has a number of music festivals and conferences actively happening throughout the year, such as Live At Leeds Unconference and Under The Owls, free music & live art festivals, Leeds 2023 Artistic Programme, etc. Music is clearly at the core of Leeds, it’s an excellent ‘stage’ for musical activities. Where do you feel this stems from?

 

Leeds has always had a great source of musical talent – Leeds Conservatoire (formerly Leeds College of Music) has been educating musicians for over 50 years now. In addition there are music and music related courses at Trinity, Beckett Leeds University and the Arts University. No wonder the scene is thriving!

Your festival is not managed by one major company – it’s a variety of gigs under one big umbrella. What was it like working with a group of jazz promoters in what might be described as a huge collaboration?

 

Leeds has not been a place where co operation is embedded as a way of working. JazzLeeds attempted to involve other promoters during the 2018 and 2019. Jazz Festivals but with limited success. This 2022 Festival is much more ambitious in having co operation almost as it’s driving force.

 

Jazz has a long history in Leeds, it being the first further educational college in the country. After devoting so much time and effort into all these projects to support Jazz performers and the Jazz music scene, what would you say is the place of Jazz in contemporary British culture?

 

Jazz has become more part of mainstream culture in the last 15 years – it is less on the margins than it was. There is a renewed interest in jazz amongst younger people who do not have the same hang ups about the music that perhaps their parents had. The scene in the city is now much more diverse and inclusive than it was, although it still has a way to go to rival London.

 

After seeing how busy the Leeds music community is, and Leeds being named the UK’s “second city of jazz,” this cannot be the end. Do you have any future plans for Leeds that you could tell us about?

 

There are big challenges ahead. The coming recession will make it more difficult for clubs and musicians to survive – there will be less money around. Leeds has much to do to offer a festival that rivals those established ones at Cheltenham, Glasgow, Love Supreme, London Jazz Festival, Manchester, or even more locally at Marsden and Scarborough. But the potential, talent and willingness is there.

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