LETTER: Jazz Festival set to return

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MUSIC-LOVERS will have the chance to hear some top performers (including Hartlepool’s very own Mick Donnelly) and some up-and-coming talent, when the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival returns to Sunderland for its 12th successive year.

This year, the festival is bigger and better than ever, with 27 big bands from all over the UK converging on North Shore, at the University of Sunderland’s riverside campus.

Festival Director Bill Watson, who was a judge on recent BBC1 show Frank Sinatra: Our Way, says: “The festival has grown and become so well known and popular that we are scarcely able to accommodate all the bands who want to take part.

“It is a nice problem to have, and we have managed to fit them all in – just!”

The opening concert – at 8pm on Friday March 6 – will feature the Paul Jones/Mick Donnelly Quintet, the Festival Big Band performing new numbers by young jazz composers, and a big band from Altringham Boys Grammar School, in, Cheshire who are making their first festival appearance.

The festival will continue on Saturday with the Open Section (nine senior bands) who will be on stage throughout the afternoon from midday – with three of the winning bands performing in concert from 6.30pm.

On Sunday, March 8, the festival will continue from 10am with some of the best school bands in the country.

The winning band will perform with adjudicators Paul Jones and Mick Donnelly.

The festival will conclude with the youth section, in which 10 bands will be on stage throughout the afternoon and early evening, from 2pm.

Tickets to the festival cost £8 and are available at the door throughout the weekend – with the under 16’s go free.

Bill Watson,

Great North Big Band JazzFestival director.