I have just returned from the Rhythm Changes ‘Jazz Utopia’ conference in Birmingham (14-17 April 2016). The majority of the one hundred plus speakers really engaged with the theme of the conference and grappled with jazz’s potential for exploring and achieving utopia from a wide variety of perspectives: historical, musicological, sociological and interdisciplinary.
One of the pleasures of this project has been that it has enabled me to read (and sometimes re-read) literature about festivals – and spending a day in the Radcliffe Camera at the Bodleian Library in Oxford whilst doing so is not such a shabby way to spend a day.
The Impact of Festivals project will generate two outputs: a report for the AHRC on the impact of festivals, based on a literature review and interviews with audience members and festival directors, and a critical history of the London Jazz Festival, which will be published as a book in 2017 as part of the Festival’s 25th anniversary.
The history of festivals in Britain (and beyond) is rich in history – from the Festival of Britain in 1951 to the riot of Beaulieu Jazz Festival in 1960, and the epochal Woodstock Festival in 1969 through to Jay-Z headlining Glastonbury Festival in 2008, festival culture now appears firmly embedded in mainstream culture.
The timeline presented here comes from a variety of sources, the genesis being Professor George McKay’s 2000 book Glastonbury: A Very English Fair, in which, as George says, ‘There is a certain randomness to this [timeline], both in terms of where it starts and what it includes, and a certain bias in its focus around popular music and left politics, either traditionally organised or lifestyle. Why not add your own entries, too?’
The history of festivals is still very much being written – do get in touch if you feel that we have missed out a festival of significance so that the history of festivals continues to grow.
The Streets is a project devised by EFG London Jazz Festival (LJF) producer, Serious, to ‘showcase the local streetscape and unlock the potential of high streets’ with the aims of spectacle, discovery, and participation. The first phase of the project started in July 2015 and consisted of a series of events across seven boroughs (Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Greenwich, Croydon, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames and Kingston upon Thames). As Serious co-Director Claire Whitaker said to a group of students about the event: ‘The sun came out, people spent money in shops; the project was a success’. The second phase coincided with the LJF in November 2015, a deliberate ploy which allowed the organisers to take advantage of the increased number of touring musicians in the city and increased opportunities for the musicians to earn money and build an audience. Continue reading The Streets – unexpected musical happenings on Leyton High Street – Emma Webster