More people than ever enjoyed this year’s Rye Jazz Festival despite Monday’s torrential downpour.
Many events sold out completely and there was a real buzz around the town over the bank holiday weekend.
The festival, now in its third year, is enjoying a growing reputation and has helped put the town on the country’s music map, securing mentions in national newspapers including the Times, Telegraph and Guardian.
It was the recommended festival in Saturday’s edition of the Guardian.
Highlights this year included a concert with pianist Jason Rebello, who played live with Sting for six years, and a comprehensive fringe festival of free concerts at venues around the town.
Festival organiser Ian Bowden said: “There is no doubt that this was the best yet. The festival delivered.
“There were so many highlights throughout the weekend it is difficult to single any out, they were all so different, masters of their art and so very talented.
“All headline events were sell-out shows; with punters scrambling for last minute tickets on the door.
“Julie Biel kicked off the headline events at The George in Rye on Friday night with a wonderful soulful performance.
“Jason Rebello, one of the most respected pianists and composers of our generation did not disappoint at the stunning new ‘Jazz Lounge’; an awesome transformation of a community centre into a Ronnie Scott like cool jazz night club.
Outside on the streets of Rye the atmosphere was electric; 2nd Line Fat Tuesday drew the crowds and had audiences pouring onto the roads with their cutting edge and hilariously modern twist on a New Orleans Marching Band.
“Nugget, Nigel Bagge, Ian Rae, Roger Carey, Alice in Grooveyard, Zoe Shwarz, The Proof and the Dirty Martini Swing Band to name just a few all delivered tremendous sets on the various outdoor festival stages at the Butter Market, George Courtyard and the Ypres.
“There was a standing ovation for the Simon Spillett Quartet, which included acclaimed Bassist Alec Dankworth and Legendary jazz pianist John Critchison.
“There were more standing ovations and rapturous applause for Claire Martin OBE who performed with singer, composer and pianist Joe Stilgoe.
“Stilgoe arrived after a seven hour drive to Rye after performing a four week run at the Edinburgh fringe, any tiredness did not show as he enchanted the audience with his charm, wit and great talent.
“Jazz Diva Kitty LaRoar performed a distinctive and mesmerising style of cabaret Jazz and added gorgeousness and glam to the festival.
“It leaves us asking ourselves what lies in store for next year for Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival 2015? We can’t wait.”