Bute jazz festival is music to island’s ears

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DOUBTS over the future of the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival appear to have been firmly dispelled by the arrival of bands and fans from all over Britain for thepopular annual event over the May bank holiday weekend.

Sunshine, great music and an electric atmosphere accompanied the festival, which began on Friday night and drew to a conclusion on Sunday evening.

Tim Saul, the chairman of the festival’s organising committee, told us: “The committee are meeting on Wednesday to discuss how the festival went.

“At this early stage, we believe that we may have exceeded our conservative ticket sales estimation - but we will of course need to investigate that.

“The overwhelming feedback from locals, businesses and those who attended the festival, is that it went really well. The music was excellent, with something for everyone, and the new acts, Richard White’s Fivers, Chicago Teddy Bears and That Swing Sensation, were really well received.

“We really must thank everyone, both business owners and individuals, for their support this year. Without them, the festival would not have happened.”

The traditional centrepiece of the festival, the Saturday morning street parade, once again saw a sea of colourfully-decorated brollies sashaying through the centre of the town, while the glorious weather ensured that another favourite part of the programme, the family picnic at Rothesay Castle on Sunday afternoon, was also well attended.

Among the favourite acts picked out by the local fans we spoke to were two groups making their first Bute festival appearance, Richard White’s Fivers and Rose Room, while big audiences for TJ Johnson, Mike Whellans and Fingal McCool’s Blues Band were signs that the organisers’ decision to branch out beyond traditional New Orleans jazz may be starting to pay dividends.