It's hard to pick out a "highlight" of the weekend : everything went to plan, there were good audiences for all gigs, and there was a wide range of music which kept everyone happy from fans of classical music, to hot club / gypsy jazz, traditional jazz, blue note, modern jazz, funk, big band and contemporary. For all this to be achieved without any hitches, on a small offshore Island of the UK by a small group of dedicated volunteers, is a wonderful achievement. There are so many challenges to the successful running of a jazz festival, especially when a high proportion of those attending (including most of the musicians) have to catch a ferry. I personally loved the Tim Kliphuis gig at the Methodist Church : it was a wonderful start to the festival, and some of the crowd (a full house) were in tears. Four days later, and I have never heard Sax Appeal sound so good on the Sunday evening. I had to miss most of the IW Youth Jazz Orchestra gig, but reliable sources (including my wife) tell me it was one of the best things they saw over the weekend.
A lot of our mainland audience are dedicated jazz fans who go to other festivals all around the UK. They all give the Isle of Wight Jazz Weekend top marks for its organisation and its friendly atmosphere. That means more to us than anything else. Jazz is wonderful, not just the actual music, but everything else involved with it : the camaraderie, the approachable musicians, the friendly and familiar faces in the crowd, the chance of seeing someone perform at the top of their game, the chance of seeing a new artist who is "on the way up". We are very proud on the Isle of Wight of our annual contribution towards keeping jazz alive and well in the UK.
Many thanks for your continued support, without which our festival would no longer be viable.
IWJW Event Director
The 8th annual Jazz Weekend on the Isle of Wight proved to be the best yet, judging by audience feedback. Event Director Jim Thorn said "We have been overwhelmed by the amount of visitors from the mainland who now make this an annual trip, and who all say that this is the most welcoming and friendliest event on the UK jazz festival calendar". As well as the happy atmosphere at all venues, audience attendances were slightly up on previous years, and the free jazz fringe in various Newport venues proved very popular too. For the first time, jazz took place over two days at St Mary's Hospital Restaurant and at Newport Library and both of these new venues were well supported. There was also an increased open air jazz presence in St Thomas' Square, as well as the usual fringe venues including Pizza Express and Caffe Isola. Jim said "We tried this year to put on the widest possible range of jazz across five days, so that no two concerts were the same. We were rewarded with some very good crowds. Jazz is probably the widest of all musical genres, and can be found influencing all music made over the past 100 years, so it's impossible for everyone to like everything we book, but there was something for everyone here at Newport".
Isle of Wight County Press