THE countdown is on to one of the highlights of Bute’s year - the annual Isle of Bute Jazz Festival, taking place this year from May 4 to 7.
Founded in 1988 as a small event by cornet player Phil Mason (of Phil Mason’s New Orleans All Stars fame) and his wife Hanne, the event has grown from humble beginnings in 1988 to an annual gathering of jazz fans who regularly enjoy top quality jazz in the beautiful surroundings of the Isle of Bute.
The Festival is celebrating its Silver Jubilee in 2012, with a great selection of bands for visitors and locals to enjoy. The main festival venues are the art deco Rothesay Pavilion and the Victorian splendour of the Glenburn Hotel in Rothesay, where most of the bands are also staying.
Concerts are also held in hotels, clubs and pubs and there’s a wide choice of music to enjoy from the traditional sounds of the Penman Jazzmen, who are also celebrating their 25th appearance at the Festival, to the young bebop sounds from Jamie Brownfield & the Brownfield/Byrne Quintet.
New faces this year include the Nova Scotia Jazz Band, Norman King and Chris Clark, plus regulars Bobby Wishart, T J Johnson and a special return visit from The Chicago Teddy Bears Society Jazz Band, Richard White’s Fivers and the spectacular Fat Sam’s Band.
There are are more than 40 concerts and events presented by 20 bands during the course of the weekend, plus a street brolly parade through Rothesay town centre on Saturday morning and a family picnic on the Sunday afternoon at the historic Rothesay Castle.
Check out the links to the right of this article for more information on the festival (including how to buy tickets), the bands and Bute itself.