The Impact of Festivals project – thoughts on the form and function of our report for the AHRC – Emma Webster

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.

Since the end of the London Jazz Festival back in November, I have been working on the literature review, which has thrown up a number of interesting questions and challenges. Continue reading The Impact of Festivals project – thoughts on the form and function of our report for the AHRC – Emma Webster

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Timeline of festival culture 1950-present

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.

Click here for festival timeline.

The Streets – unexpected musical happenings on Leyton High Street – Emma Webster

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

London on crutches – thoughts on the (in)accessibility of festivals – Emma Webster

Back at the beginning of October I tore my calf muscle playing badminton – I have been on crutches ever since, although my leg is getting stronger daily. Whilst at no point wishing to suggest that I could understand what it is like to be chronically disabled, it has given me a small insight into mobility issues at festival about which I was previously less cognisant.

The EFG London Jazz Festival (LFJ) is predominantly venue-based – some of the fringe Streets events take place in the open air, but most, if not all, of the LJF events are indoors and most are seated. One of the things audience members have told me is that they like the variety of the Festival, in that it spans some of the largest venues in London to some of the smallest. While the larger, Arts Council-funded venues have to have an equality action plan, smaller venues do not generally have to abide by such rules and hence accessibility, or the lack thereof, may be an issue. Continue reading London on crutches – thoughts on the (in)accessibility of festivals – Emma Webster

A London festival – how the city impacts on festival – Emma Webster

One of the thoughts that I keep coming back to, and about which I have been talking with audience members, is about how the EFG London Jazz Festival (LJF) fits into London and whether its very size has an impact on people’s experience of it as a ‘festival’. Responses have varied, from those who feel strongly that the LJF does not feel like a festival, to those for whom the LJF is the first event which springs to mind when they think of ‘festival’. As co-Director of Serious, Claire Whitaker, commented yesterday, “There is the equivalent of a festival going on every night in London”, and signs of the Festival are often only overt at the festival venues themselves. Continue reading A London festival – how the city impacts on festival – Emma Webster

Festivals as learning environments and the coolest instrument in the world – Emma Webster

The coolest instrument in the world is the electric guitar – or, at least, that is what was taught to twenty school children today as part of one of the EFG London Jazz Festival educational events. And after today’s wonderful concert by Chris Montague, I am fully inclined to agree!
Continue reading Festivals as learning environments and the coolest instrument in the world – Emma Webster

Why do audiences attend festivals? – Emma Webster

As part of my research at the EFG London Jazz Festival, I have been speaking to audience members about what they get out of festivals and why they attend. The following is a brief overview of just some of the themes that have arisen so far:- Continue reading Why do audiences attend festivals? – Emma Webster