Yes, Adam! You’re bringing the excellent Jazz re:fest back to Brighton next month. How was the festival in 2018 for you guys down here?
AMAZING!….. After doing 3 incredible years at the Southbank we had no idea how moving JAZZ RE:FEST away from London and having to sell tickets for it was going to pan out – but on the day so many people were there and it went so smoothly + the weather was fantastic!
Was the decision to come back made straight away, or have you thought of looking at other destinations?
The day after the festival, the team had a very rare day off so we all took our families down onto the beach, chilled out in the sunshine… and started planning for the next year. We have been asked to bring JAZZ RE:FEST to various places around the country but as a not-for-profit organisation it is pretty difficult & expensive for us to make happen, but, hopefully we can find a way.
What were the highlights for you last year and how was it for the artists that performed?
One of the highlights for us were just how many people from Brighton and the surrounding area came to the festival – that was a very special moment.
The artists all really loved it, the crowd really brought the energy and vibes!
How have the last 12 months been for you? Is the Jazz re:freshed masterplan taking shape as you would like?
Well, in the last 12 months we have reached the unthinkable landmark of 16 years at our weekly residency which for us was a remarkable achievement and one that had the whole team a little emotional. We also really pushed our record label and released 5 LP’s from 1000Kings, Samadhi, Seed Ensemble (who played at the festival last year) also both Rosie Turton & Sarah Tandy who will be both performing on the 27th.
Our quest to push UK jazz internationally also went well as we were asked by SXSW Texas to bring our UK jazz showcase again – it was another huge success and has really put the UK jazz scene on the map. We also took bands and musicians to Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro and Cuba.
We are really blessed to be able to do what we do for jazz music, although, as a not-for-profit organisation it can be a very difficult and stressful existence. Funding for the arts is always strained but we have been fortunate to be able to keep our heads above water so to speak. But if you know any lottery winners that like jazz – send them our way.
With the focus for you guys always on discovering new talent, which artists have you been introduced to this last 12 months that are doing it for you?
It really is a great time to be alive for jazz. There are so many bands coming up (from all over the country) at the moment… here are some of the ones to watch – Where Pathways Meet, Ife Ogunjobi, Werkha, Nihilism, Chelsea Carmichael. I highly recommend you check them all out.
Tell us about the artists performing this year
We have always prided ourselves on the curation of the music for JAZZ RE:FEST – we have never booked bands on the basis of how big or well known they are but rather, how good the music is. This year is no different. The Artists encompass everything that is special about the UK scene – it’s a bit of everything from electronic jazz sounds to spiritual African jazz and everything inbetween.
Jazz Re:fest is in it’s 7th year now. Did you foresee it evolving the way it has done and is there a plan on how you want it to move forward?
We had always wanted to make it bigger – but still maintain the ethos of why we do it, and we are still doing that. There will always be new festivals starting that have sponsors and big budgets.. we have never had that.. but we keep going. Our only plan is to keep pushing dope music and giving up and coming bands the opportunities to play to larger crowds – oh and there is talk about doing JAZZ RE:FEST in Brazil!
The festival was on Sunday last year and will be on the Saturday this year, any particular reason for that?
We got a bit of feedback from people last year saying that they wanted to stay later but had to get back to London or the surrounding area because they had work the next day – also we thought it would nice to do a party on the beach the next day, which we are doing Sunday 28th July @ The Fortune of War 12pm to 6pm where we and some of the fam will be spinning some music!
Any secret afters that we should know about?
No so much a secret but the afterparty is at Merkaba (round the corner from the The Dome) straight after JAZZ RE:FEST and we will be going until 4am – if our feet will carry us! – and its FREE ENTRY
What next for Jazz re:freshed?
We need a holiday, somewhere with no internets and a spa! But we’ll be at:
Wilderness festival 1st August – Presenting Project Karnak & Ruby Rushton
Room4Movement 4th August – Brokenbeat nujazz soul hiphop
Weekly residency – live jazz every week
Blue Lab Beats at jazz re:freshed Margate 16th Nov – Olbys Soul Café