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More Jazz Fans Than Ever Before Flock To Wigan
Tuesday 19th July, 2005

Wigan International Jazz Festival organisers are in high spirits after the most successful festival in its 20-year history came to a close on Saturday.

The festival dubbed ‘Eight Days of Cool’ ended on a high this weekend as the Count Basie Orchestra played to over seven hundred fans at the Pier Centre.

From the moment the festival got underway on Saturday July 9 in the heart of Wigan town centre, the festival has played to a bigger and wider audience than ever. Over 3,500 people witnessed 32 different performances at eight different venues.

"The crowds this year have been great. Most of the celebrity concerts and lunch time sets have been completely sold out," says Festival Director Ian Darrington. "We also had our biggest single audiences ever at the Pier Centre with over seven hundred witnessing both Manhattan Transfer and the Count Basie Orchestra."

"The most pleasing aspect for me though is that we have really reached out to a new audience this year. There were a lot of new faces at the performances by the Mingus Big Band and James Morrison plus the free concerts attracted hundreds of curious onlookers," continues Ian. "I think it is the wide variety of acts that have appealed this year. We have had young talents such as Dylan Howe, Paul Bentley and Kelly Dickson lighting up the stage alongside icons of the jazz scene like Manhattan Transfer and Herb Geller."

The Wigan International Jazz Festival will enter its 21st year in 2006 with its reputation for the quality and diversity of its acts firmly intact.

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