Rye got an early taster of what is in store when Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival held its official press launch at The George on Thursday.
It set the tone for the eagerly anticipated festival, now in its third year, which takes place from Thursday August 21 to Monday 25 over the bank holiday weekend.
The festival offers both variety and intimacy with live performances taking place at an array of venues in the historic town.
Sponsors, media partners and special guests attended a packed ballroom at The George and were treated to a special wine tasting presentation by the multi-award winning wine producers Gusbourne Estate.
Backdown Artisan Spirits the festival’s official spirits partner provided cocktails on the evening and the festival’s beer partners Old Dairy Brewery provide the first batch of the superb bespoke festival beer Bebop Top.
Folkington’s Juices the festival’s juice partners also provided a selection of their natural fruit juices. The launch was supported by The George in Rye and production company On Stage.
The Dirty Martini Swing Band quartet set a relaxed atmosphere through the evening.
Earl Okin, who is one of the finest Jazz and Bossa Nova singers, also made a special guest appearance and provide a sneak preview of his forthcoming show at the festival which will take place on Sunday August 24 at The George in Rye jazz club.
Festival director Ian Bowden thanked sponsors and guests for their support. Ian went on to say that in 2015 it is very much his focus to attract an audience from Northern Europe to attend the festival.
He said: “We already have a number of strong potential artist’s options for 2015 that include Randy Crawford, Van Morrison, Curtis Stigers and Georgie Fame so our work continues straight after this year’s festival.”
Must see concerts at the festival this year include Jason Rebello, one of the most respected pianists and guest soul singer Joy Rose. Claire Martin OBE, the first lady of British Jazz; performs with Jazz singer, composer and pianist Joe Stilgoe who is hot footing it to Rye straight from a four week run at the Edinburgh fringe.
Julia Biel, opens the festival on Friday August 22 at The George Jazz Club. Also opening the festival on the Friday is Italian Jazz guitarist Antonio Forcione and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale.
Bass player Herbie Flowers returns with his Jazz All Stars entertaining guests at a special Jazz breakfast and afternoon tea. Award winning British saxophonist Simon Spillett and his quartet which includes acclaimed Bassist Alec Dankworth and Legendary Jazz pianist John Critchison perform on Sunday August 24.
Alongside the professional concerts the festival programme includes many free events; the Butter Market Semi-Acoustic performances, the George Courtyard session, street entertainment and a cutting edge modern twist on a New Orleans Marching Band called 2nd Line Fat Tuesday.
The festival’s free programme also presents three days of outstanding Blues, Jazz and Soul at the Ypres outdoor performance stage.
A host of other live performances take place at hotels, pubs and restaurants adding to the vibrant festival buzz.
For more information about these and many other events visit the festival website, where you can also purchase tickets. Visit www.ryejazz.com.