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Free Music And All That Jazz!
Friday 8th July, 2005

Free Music And All That Jazz!
Jazz Takes The Cake: Wigan International Jazz Festival’s main sponsor Victor Greenberg of Greenberg Glass launches the 20th festival at the JJB Stadium with Wigan Warrior’s star Kevin Brown.

The waiting is almost over for thousands of music fans as the final countdown begins to this year’s world famous Wigan International Jazz Festival. The fun begins this weekend when some of the biggest names in the business descend on Wigan for eight days of the finest jazz to be found anywhere in the world.

This year’s festival is extra special because Wigan is celebrating the International Jazz Festival’s 20th anniversary.

Legendary New York vocal quartet Manhattan Transfer will be the opening celebrity concert at the new Pier Centre venue on Saturday (July 9th).

With other festival highlights including the equally legendary Count Basie Orchestra and local lad Andy Prior, organisers say that ticket sales are as strong as ever and are confident of another successful festival year.

However, it’s not all about paid for events because this year’s programme includes some of the very best in free performances and everyone is invited.

The first performance of the festival will be a free street concert in the heart of Wigan, by Dixieland maestros the Harlem Hotstompers.

The Hotstompers will be taking Market Place by storm at 11am on Saturday (July 9th).

Festival sponsors the Rotary Club, who are celebrating their centenary this year will also be present.

Following this, at 1pm on Saturday, Jumpin’ Jaks on King Street will be living up to its name when top combo High Brass get the joint jumping by blowing up a storm. Again the gig will be free to all who want to come along.

At 11pm on Saturday there will be a free late night ‘jam session’ with the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra sextet in the Champions Bar at Robin Park Arena.

While on Sunday (July 10th) at noon the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra will be performing for free in Mesnes Park, Wigan.

Wigan International Jazz Festival Musical Director Ian Darrington said:

“The origins of the jazz festival are in education and providing young talent with an opportunity to perform.”

“Of course we’ve grown a lot in the last 20 years but this is still at the very core of the festival and this year is no exception.”

“We realise that a lot of people want to give jazz music a go but are unsure whether they would like it. That’s why, each year, we put on the free concerts to give people a taste of a musical form that is so energetic, colourful and rich in variation that we guarantee there’s something in there for everyone.”

Ian added:

“I would urge as many people as possible to come along and support the free concerts. The Wigan International Jazz Festival is your festival so please make the most of it, you won't be disappointed.”

Tickets for the 20th Wigan International Jazz Festival are on sale now from the box office, call (01942) 825677.

For regular updates visit the official festival website www.wiganjazz.net.

All artists appear by arrangement with Ernie Garside Productions.

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