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Hebden Bridge Blues Festival

From Jason Elliott

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I would just like to say thank you very much to the people of Hebden Bridge for the support and hospitality shown to the visitors to the town for the Blues Festival.

Musicians and audience members alike came up to me throughout the weekend to compliment the town and its people, so thanks a lot!

From Lizzie D

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Glad to hear that visitors felt welcome.

I heard mainly good things about the festival. However, I would like to ask if there is any possibility of more 'free' open air street events next time. Most events were costly to those on lower incomes, and many people I spoke to were not sure if they would like to listen to a jazz/blues event for a couple of hours, so were reluctant to pay. The odd free act wasn't that well publicised and as far as I know was indoors.

Other areas (Cities admittedly, before I get shouted down), seem to manage to provide lots of on-street acts which add an extra vibrancy to their festivals. I do realise it is probably a cost thing, but given the grass roots of blues/jazz, then to make it accesible to all would surely be better. Perhaps some acts would be willing to do a free sample say in the day and be paid for a full blown concert at night? Or young/up and coming jazz artists could be encouraged to play venues/street concerts for free?

From Phil M

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Cracking weekend of music from what I saw, very well done to the organisers.

The Marquee in the park was an excellent addition to proceedings!!!

From Jason Elliott

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Hi Lizzie.

As the organiser of the event I would like to respond to your observations.

There were eleven free admittance shows, all but one were well attended, in various venues around the town across the weekend.

There were an additional two performances on Saturday and Sunday on the Picture House steps out towards the street to also add to the general ambience.

These were organised precisely so that locals and people on low income could "get a piece of the blues" at no cost.

Information about them was publicised on the festival website, at the venues themselves, and even in the window of the Hebden Bridge Times during the previous week and throughout the weekend.

While cities and towns elsewhere may have all sort of free events in their public spaces, funded from the public purse, the Hebden Bridge Blues Festival was paid for from my own pockets with not one single penny provided by either Hebden Royd Town Council nor Calderdale MBC. (HRTC were approached for a £500 contribution toward the £20,000+ costs but declined.)

As far as persuading acts to perform for nothing, musicians are generally very lowly paid and, although they often do play for nothing, for promotional purposes usually, I am against it on principle. This is why I put a minimum fee of £150 for bands and £120 for soloists and duos into place.

Although the festival made a loss, as is normal for a first event of this scale, I personally believe that the cultural and economic benefits for the town (just ask the Trades Club or anyone with a B&B) made it worthwhile and I fully intend to do it every year.

By the way, there was no jazz. It was a blues event.


From Jenny B

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Well done Jason, I dont think many people knew there wasn't any funding from the town council (or Calderdale), I certainly didn't.

Have to say, I didn't know there were that number of free events either, clearly lots did as they were well attended. I did go on the park thinking some open air event was on but the £20 fee to go in the marquee event put me off a bit.

As for jazz, the confusion could be it was originally jazz and blues wasn't it?

From Catherine Groves

Monday, 6 June 2011

Congratulations to all those involved in this. As a former councillor I regret that we were voted down by our Mytholmroyd Lib Dem colleagues as was often the case.

From Phil M

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Now Jason has set the context of how the event was financed, even bigger congratulations!!! Accomodation, other venues and general tourism will all have positive benefits to take from your event!!
While I like Blues, I have seen festivals that cater for either 'Folk n Blues' or 'Blues n Roots' with different venues catering for the different styles, widening the audience...just a thought and in no way a criticism...

From Lizzie D

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

My post was not meant to be critical in any way. It was based on my opinion and my observations. But, wrist slap accepted Jason.
I have to say that I don't walk round with my eyes shut, but genuinely did not see all these free events advertised. And nor did many others I spoke to.

I was originally following the event at the planning stage on the website when it was to be jazz as well, so that probably explains why I did think it was still jazz and blues.

I can see that considering the costs laid out, the prices were probably very fair, but don't see anything wrong with saying that they were still a bit beyond my pocket. Hence my suggestion for more free 'tasters'.
Having walked past the marquee and heard good sounds I would have liked have been able to go in but yes £20 was 'too much' for me.

Next time I will be sure to look for the free or lower cost (yes I would expect to pay something) events to give my support to. Have to say I was really surprised to hear that our Town Council didnt help with the funding of this event. Glad that Jason intends to plan another with or without their support and I would hope that next time he gets some.

From Andrew Hall

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Ihave to admit my ignorance on the difference between jazz and blues. I always thought they were broadly similar.

My formative years were in the late 60's/early 70's. For us teenagers the only real music was the Beatles / Stones / Who / Hendrix etc etc etc. The focal points of our week were TV's Top of The Pops on a Thursday and Alan Freeman's Pick of the Pops on the Light Programme (the forerunner of Radios 1 and 2) on a Sunday. Jazz was a different thing altogether - it was epitomised by brilliantined middle-aged men playing trumpets and saxophones in sleazy smoke-filled clubs in Soho. Our only exposure was when Humphrey Lyttleton or Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen (the clue's in the name) made a guest appearance on Crackerjack or The Black and White Minstrel Show, playing such tiresome things as 'Hello Dolly' and 'When the Saints go marching in'. That, for us, was jazz. And blues was very similar, only done at a slower tempo, and generally more gloomy, and usually performed by black people.

Googling (as one inevitably does these days) revealed this as the most popular response to what the difference is between jazz and blues:

"Blues uses a 1-4-5 chord progression (and variations of) where as Jazz uses Modes. Blues is played in 4/4 or a 12/8 shuffle where as Jazz is played in outside time signatures such as 5/8 or 7/8. Jazz and Blues are very much related to each other"

So there you are. How stupid of me not to realise!