Curtain falls on ‘wonderful’ Bute jazz festival

The Jamie Brownfield Quintet - just one of many top quality artists on the bill at the 25th Isle of Bute Jazz Festival.
The Jamie Brownfield Quintet - just one of many top quality artists on the bill at the 25th Isle of Bute Jazz Festival.

THE sun has set on the 25th Isle of Bute Jazz Festival - but the memorable musical moments for the hundreds of local and visiting fans who packed out concert venues around Bute during the holiday weekend will live on for a while yet.

The ‘silver jubilee’ event attracted visitors from throughout the UK and beyond – and the move to include a broader mix of musical styles on the bill, rather than the focus on ‘trad’ jazz which was the theme of most of the festival’s 24 predecessors, was a hit, according to organising committee chair Tim Saul, whose own band performed at a special ‘farewell session’ in the refurbished ballroom of the Glenburn Hotel on Monday afternoon.

“It’s been a wonderful event,” Mr Saul told us as the last echoes of the final session died away.

“The feedback I and other committee members have received has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The main comment was ‘what a great choice of music’ – we had everything from acoustic folk to show band, country swing to Dixieland and modern jazz, so there really was something for everybody.”

Those broadening musical horizons were exemplified by the likes of the gypsy jazz quartet Rose Room, the Western swing of Stretch Dawrson and the Mending Hearts, festival favourite TJ Johnson’s blues sound and the Celtic repertoire of the Bute Ceilidh Band, while the ‘trad’ fan base was well catered for by the likes of the Chicago Teddy Bears Society, Penman’s Jazzmen and the Nova Scotia Jazz Band.

“Given the stringent economic conditions and the increased cost of the ferry, we’re overwhelmingly pleased with the support we’ve received,” Mr Saul continued.

“We haven’t counted up the numbers yet, although we’ll be able to give further details when all the books have been done and all the analysis completed – but I think it’s been a fitting celebration of 25 years of quality jazz on Bute.”