Cheltenham Jazz Festival goes digital with online event
James R | On 05, May 2020
Cheltenham Jazz Festival will be going digital this Bank Holiday weekend, with a virtual one-day festival streamed online.
The free event will be held on Saturday 9th May, aiming to recreate the essence of the festival and showcase some of the top acts originally set to perform at the 2020 festival, before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The online event will feature exclusive sets from Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May, cultural pioneer Nitin Sawhney, award-winning trumpeter Laura Jurd, ambient improvising trio Chris Mapp and Stillefelt, the 16-piece Electric Lady Big Band, The TC Quartet ft Denny Ilett, soul/rocker Roachford, beatboxer Shlomo and Showcase sessions with two rising stars from last year’s Free Stage: Rosie Tee and Amahla.
Throughout the day, the best of the Festival’s Westons Sessions, filmed over the past seven years, will also be streamed. Sponsored by partners Henry Westons and curated by Cheltenham Jazz Festival, these intimate performances have been filmed behind the scenes at the Festival and feature an eclectic mix of established artists and emerging talent.
At 8pm the Festival hands over to BBC Radio 2 for a special show from Jamie Cullum with highlights from the past 10 years of Cheltenham Jazz Festival followed by another chance to hear Randy Crawford in concert from her 2018 Cheltenham appearance, introduced by Jo Whiley.
BBC Four is also making its Jazz 625 broadcast created at last year’s Festival available to view for 21 days from 8th May. This was the first live BBC black-and-white TV programme broadcast since the 1970s, reviving the 1960s BBC show Jazz 625 – featuring a house band (led by pianist Robert Mitchell) with special guests Joshua Redman, Jean Toussaint, Shirley Tetteh, Jacqui Dankworth and Gregory Porter, plus an exclusive recorded performance from legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.
“We’d like to say a huge thanks to all of the artists who have supported us in making this happen. To be able to create a virtual Festival in three weeks has been amazing. We are delighted that we can offer a flavour of the Festival to those who, like us were disappointed by the cancellation due to COVID 19 and hope that Jazz lovers join us on their smartphone, smart TV or laptop and on BBC Radio 2,” says Dave Gaydon, Cheltenham Jazz Festival Head of Programming.
The festival will kick off at 3pm on the Cheltenham Festivals YouTube channel.