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Abersoch Jazz Festival - Gwyl Jazz Abersoch - is back!

With a new format and new dates, please note the changes.

27th, 28th, 29th September 2013.

The festival site will be more contained promoting an even more accessible, friendly event. We look forward to welcoming musicians, and friends old and new, to enjoy the top line bands, featured musicians, the Parade, the Gospel Service and the warm Abersoch atmosphere.

Put the dates in your diary and watch this space for news.

Warwick Leadlay (1929-2013) RIP

It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that Warwick Leadlay, a great friend and generous supporter of Abersoch Jazz Festival, passed away on 16th February 2013.

Warwick was a truly extraordinary and wonderful gentleman who will be sadly missed by his family, his very many friends and the whole fraternity of jazz musicians and jazz fans.

He held his own unique jazz festival for many years at his home, Starborough Castle, and contributed hugely to the future of the music by supporting and promoting, over the years, many young jazz musicians and singers.

He was also a great collector of paintings, porcelain, antique maps and, most particularly, everything related to Admiral Lord Nelson, of whom he became a world expert. His passion culminated in him opening his own gallery in Nelson Road, Greenwich. Most importantly, Warwick was a loyal, special friend. He brought many people together who have since established warm, lasting friendships: once a friend through Warwick, always a friend.

Warwick made the world a much richer place to live in. It has been our privilege to have known him.

Back to memories of the 2011 Festival

After 10 years it seemed strange that we were not furiously fundraising and organising for the Abersoch Jazz Festival 2012. Other special national and international events did not warrant taking the risk for that year. This is a good time to reflect on the great music, fun and friendship from 2011.

The young of the area participated in the Annual School Workshops and in a brand new Wednesday concert of ‘Hidden Talent’ which proved extremely successful.

Abersoch once again provided a warm welcome and sunshine for ‘most’ of the weekend. The event ‘kicked off’ with Dr Jazz playing a storming bilingual session in the Riverside Marquee on the Thursday night. A rich variety of top class music continued over the weekend from Europe, the UK and local bands, such as; Cajun Denbo, Gadjo, and Jazz Rag.

Many enjoyed the rare opportunity to listen and dance to professional bands from Denmark, who had never visited the UK before – The Paul Harrison Jazz Band and the Ronald Andersen Festival Band. The young Oriental Jazz Band from Enkhuizen, Holland,are now firm favourites and friends. They just get better every year!

T J Johnson and his band caused us the usual Health and Safety problems of overcrowded sessions!

Hilarious family entertainment and very professional musicianship was provided by Bob Kerr and his Whoopee Band.

The Savannah Jazz Band and the Blue Magnolia Jazz Orchestra are always a pleasure to have at the festival and are all fantastic musicians.

We were lucky to have young soloists, many of whom are award winners, turning up as special guests with bands, joining Malcolm and Isobel’s jam session and comprising Jim McIntosh’s very popular Before and After Band.

The Special Lotus Cars were on display before the colourful parade and their proud owners did a wonderful but difficult task of judging the best decorated brollies and hats in the parade.

The local Sea Cadets joined the parade again with their Pirate Ship and collection buckets. The local parents always make a big effort to support the festival and parade. Visitors donations and money collected by the hard working buskers really helps the cadets and schools.

The window dressing competition was won by the Abersoch Cafe (Y Bwtri) by a very narrow margin.

The Village Hall Venue was busy on the Saturday afternoon with educational workshops and the exciting young Gwynedd and Môn Youth Jazz Band. All this accompanied by the delicious homemade scones, cakes and drinks provided by the young mums. Before and After Band played a great set in the evening and had everyone up and dancing in spite of ‘no alcohol allowed’.

The BermoBatala Samba Band played three hugely energetic and rhythmical sessions on Saturday and have proved to be one of our most requested bands!

The Sunday weather let us down but did not spoil the action. The local chapel proved a great venue. The bilingual Gospel Service was amazing with the very talented local young people and musicians taking the lead.

The weather forced theSeindorfyr Oakley Brass Band to play indoors, in the chapel after the service, but as usual they gave a superb performance.

Exciting and varied bands, such as; James Evans Rocket 4, Barbara and All that Jazz, Suzanne and Dave Mott with Friends, kept the music flowing around the venues until midnight.

The voluntary committee greatly appreciate the grant funding from both the Arts Council of Wales and the Awards for all Wales and for the donations from the Commmunity Council, Gwynedd Council and local businesses. We also thank the volunteers, local community, jazz buses and marvellous musicians, without whom there would not be a festival.

Quote from an Abersoch mum during the 10th Anniversary Festival June 2011. “Ten years ago I pushed my 2 year old son around the village in the parade. We have enjoyed every year since and he has now performed in the Wednesday Special Showcase Concert, the Gospel Services, the Workshops and is a regular member of an excellent newly formed local band.” A positive example for the future of jazz.

(Photos courtesy of Barry Kesterton)