Keswick Jazz Festival 2017 and onwards

Progress so far:

October 21st. 2016
The website for the 2017 "Jazz and Blues Festival" is now live.

October 12th. 2016
The November issue of "Jazz Guide" will contain the first advertisement for the new Festival, copy viewable from HERE.

Access to the organiser's new website can be achieved via my "Links" page. As at today, no information has been posted.

An interesting development is the addition of the word "blues". Nineteen performers are listed as "booked so far", almost all from the Jazz field. A telephone number is given, box office open from 7th.November. Prices will be £90 and £120 for three-day and four-day passes respectively. You are encouraged to buy your tickets early "to support the festival". Presumably you will be buying from Keswick Jazz Limited. Three venues are mentioned by name, plus "others" pending. There is no indication as to whether there will be evening gigs to compete with the Theatre's program. Only one of the "artists" booked has a firm time and date on their own website, apparently playing for one hour at midday on Friday 12th. Two others show "TBC" regarding a Keswick appearance, and five others have no diary entry for the dates involved.

Hopefully, there will be more answers than questions when the new website has some content.

October 11th. 2016
At last, an announcement made on Graham Hughes' Keswick Jazz Facebook page. Follow the link from HERE. Dates are quoted as 14th.May 2017 inclusive, and tickets will be on sale from 7th.November. Venues and performers still work in progress. A little detective work has revealed the existence of a recently registered domain name "", not yet linked to a working website.

September 3rd. 2016
The alternative approach remains a mystery. My email of 2nd.August to the organiser remains unanswered. An emailed approach to his associate was answered promptly with reassuring words. Unfortunately there is no evidence to support the assurances, and the clock is ticking. The website apparently associated with their project remains unaltered from the content shown regarding the May 2016 Festival, accessable from my "Links" page. The booking of bands is yet to commence. The promised "bigger and better" event for 2017 has now been reduced to something much less ambitious. The identity of the organisers remains unannounced. The only publicity they are receiving is from here! The would-be paying public - you and I - are being kept in the dark when all logic cries out for INFORMATION. Whatever the reasons for silence, the time is ripe for Keswick Jazz Limited to break cover.

Any information welcomed! Is my information out of date? Have you been approached, or booked? If so, please email me from HERE. All information confidential.

I hope that this post might just provoke a positive reaction. My sole interest is in establishing whether KJF Ltd is likely to convert promises into visible action. The difficulties they will be facing are myriad.

August 2nd. 2016
No announcement or information yet received from the "alternative approach". Is no news good news ? Hopefully, but I am sure we would all rather know what is going on. I have today emailed a request for information, and maybe will be able to clear the fog a little within a day or two. Any news will be placed here and also distributed to the mailing list members.

June 15th. 2016
The plea from four days ago has produced no response. I therefore, reluctantly, must abandon any hope of forming a Keswick Jazz Festival company limited by guarantee. Thank you to the few who expressed serious interest, and to those who joined the mailing list. It is simply not possible for an event of this nature to be run by a tiny volunteer group, all of whom live over 100 miles from Keswick.

It now is apparent that another initiative has been in existence since at least the first day of this year's festival. This fact has not been made public until now, and has only been known to me for a fortnight. This alternative approach would appear to be in the form of a commercial venture, contrary to the format I thought ideal. It has the enormous advantage of an enthusiastic leading light with vital local knowledge and connections. I understand that a "bigger and better" event is promised for 2017, and that a wonderful website will soon be available to view, along with the identities of those involved. I am aware that a Limited Company with an appropriate name has recently been formed; anyone wishing for further information should visit the Companies House website. We will all no doubt be following the course of events with interest.

Until the new organisers have their website up and running, I shall continue to post any newsworthy item. I shall also, today, contact all members of the mailing list advising them of the changed situation. In addition, I will be contacting the venues holding provisional bookings made by me.

I hope that the new team will be able to engineer a successful Festival for 2017, and indeed for following years. I thank all those who have expressed their interest in and support for my efforts. Email details will not be passed on by me; I will, however, inform everyone when I receive details of the new organisation's website and email addresses, plus the promised telephone number.

June 11th. 2016
Email hiccups and incorrect translations sorted. Budget expenditure drafted; income estimated at 2015 levels in (temporary) absence of 2016 figures. Further advice taken regarding formation of a not-for-profit Company.

Now to the major problem. A Company would require Members to run both it and its reason for being - a Keswick Jazz Festival. They would be required to assist with the many duties formerly performed by the Theatre staff. Tasks selected from a long list include liason with venues, licensing matters, marketing, sourcing hire of equipment, arranging bus and taxi transport, solving the payment and ticketing issue, extracting advertising and sponsorship income, allocating stewarding duties, arranging contracts for and payment of performers, etcetara, etcetera. The list goes on and on, and very little of it can be ignored or left to chance. The task is beyond an individual's spare-time capabilities, even if that individual had any relevant experience! A dozen participants might stand a chance. So far,it appears that very few people are prepared to make such a commitment. Reducing the size and scope of the event would reduce the work involved, but also the ticket sales.

Unless more people join in, the outlook looks bleak for a stroller-style gathering in 2017. The Theatre's concerts will probably sell out, and there is little doubt that a "Jazz Mini Break" will be offered by a local hostelry. The balance of this year's 782 four and three-day passholders, plus the 593 on-day passholders, will have to spend their time and money elsewhere. Also the army of musicians left without a reasonable earner.

The sheer stupidity of this course of events appals me, and the lack of local outrage also. The best place for management of a music festival in Keswick? Let me think....

If you have anything to offer other than encouragement alone, then offer it now, otherwise the ship may sink. I shall contact the many people who are on my mailing list to directly ask their views on a number of questions. If you feel left out, then join the mailing list!

June 6th. 2016.
Emails sent to all those who kindly added their email addresses to the forms we provided at the Festival. If you are reading this, and have not received a message, please send an email to me. The problem is probably my failure to read your address accurately!
If you have not yet added your name to our list, and would like to, please mail me from HERE .

May 29th. 2016.
It appears that enough venues would be available for a 2017 Festival. There is no reason to doubt that a full and varied program of music could be assembled, and that satisfaction could be achieved all round. I think that Graham Hughes put together an excellent program for this year, and am in no doubt whatsoever as to his willingness to repeat or even improve on the achievement. Stewarding is part of the fabric, and I would be hopeful that the previous arrangements could be replicated. Whether income could exceed expenditure is problematical. Budgeting is in progress; predicting ticket sales requires the services of a proven clairvoyant. "Sponsorship" will no doubt be suggested as the answer, but at this stage I can see little or nothing coming from that direction. The Arts Council allocation of funds to the area appears done and dusted. Some support from those who derive income from the influx might be justified, but essentially the event should pay its own way. How to deal with a negative balance? A vital part of the revival plan, requiring reliable commitments from individuals. I personally am prepared to potentially reduce the kid's inheritance to a degree, but have no desire to join the homeless. So far, from the emails I have received, there has been but a single offer of financial support.

The format of the "Organisation" is still in a state of flux. Whatever is decided on, it is clear that a revival cannot be orchestrated by a group of two. The Cavalry urgently require reinforcements. The Festival draws people from all over the Country, but it is the "Keswick" Jazz Festival. Keswick, part of Cumbria, part of North-West England. Not too far from the Scottish border, close to Lancashire, easily reached from parts of Yorkshire, not to mention the North-East. I urgently need volunteers from these areas to join this process. Volunteers who love the music, enjoy the annual gathering, have some time to spare, have ideas, enthusiasm, and a "can-do" mentality. Who can also understand the need for contingency planning. Without others joining in, this initiative will peter out, or at best reduce to something that could be handled by the proverbial man and a dog. Urgent raising of heads over parapet required. Email me about practical support from HERE .

May 27th. 2016.
Looks as though it might soon be eight.

May 26th. 2016.
Time for an overdue update. We now have seven venues holding provisional bookings for May 2017.

We do not yet have a proper organisation, but have received advice as to the best option. Trawling the net results in the discovery that a Company Limited By Guarantee, operating as a Registered Charity, is a well trodden path. The Guarantee is made by the Members, who must tip up the sum guaranteed should the Company/Charity fail with upaid debts. The Guarantee could be any figure from £1 upwards, but all Members guarantee the same amount. A minimum of three Members are required. I could be one, Sue another. A quick calculation reveals that we need at least one other body for the quorum. All this information is my own distillation of information in the public domain. Please let me know of any errors or vital omissions.

Most of the email addresses collected at Keswick remain untouched, but not forgotten. Plenty to get on with, all inward emails answered ! A further update soon.

May 17th. 2016.
Several encouraging emails received, including suggestions and offers of help.

May 16th. 2016.
Home. Achieved over the weekend:

Leaflets printed and distributed.
Around 120 email addresses supplied by interested jazzers.
Positive response now from six potential venues.
Fruitful meeting at the Theatre.
Contact made with Graham Hughes to establish common ground.
Information gathered to permit a start on budget and cashflow calculations. You can't beat a good spreadsheet!

May 14th. 2016.
At Keswick. Much concern being expressed. Leaflets distributed and email addresses being collected. Working out the next move.

May 11th. 2016.
The first spam. Trawling through Theatre website trying to detect missed omens. New page posted. This is hard work! Off to Keswick pm.

May 10th. 2016.
Six emails out to potential venues. Pages added to site.

May 9th. 2016.
Two emails in.

May 7th. 2016.
Website set up.