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You’ve Come A Long Way Baby!
Monday 11th April, 2005

You’ve Come A Long Way Baby!

Legendary Line-up For 20th Wigan Jazz Festival

Time flies when you’re having fun!

It could well be the motto for one of the country’s longest running and popular live music festivals.

The Wigan International Jazz Festival is 20 years old this year and to celebrate there is a line-up of international star performers to rival any that have gone before.

This year’s festival runs from Saturday July 9th until Saturday July 16th and it promises to be eight days to shake the world!

There are plenty of surprises and a few breaks with tradition for the special anniversary celebrations but one thing will remain the same… it will be a feast of live music to rival any in the country this summer.

Jazz Festival musical director Ian Darrington, has just revealed the full line-up.

“It’s going to be one of the best festivals ever,” declared Ian, who has been at the helm since the very beginning.

“We are an international festival and the artists reflect that. We are particularly proud to be welcoming some of the world’s top big bands this year as well as some legendary vocal talent.”

Leading the charge on the first night of the festival will be global New York-based vocal quartet The Manhattan Transfer.

The group are still probably best known in the UK for their 1977 No 1 single Chanson D'Amour but they have been stars of the international live jazz circuit and wowed audiences all over the world for more than 35 years.

“The Manhattan Transfer is a UK exclusive for the Wigan Jazz Festival,” said Ian. “So if you want to see them this year you’d better get down to Wigan.

“They will be opening our festival and they will be the first to play at an exciting new venue we have this year, The Pier Centre on Pottery Road, which is one of the largest capacity sites in town so it should be a great night.”

Also making their debut at The Pier Centre is the legendary Count Basie Orchestra, who will close the festival on Saturday July 16th.

Basie needs no introduction, having been one of the leading lights in big band music for the best part of a century.

The Count may no longer be with us but his orchestra is keeping his music and memory alive and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year!

Another legacy of a legend, The Woody Herman Orchestra, will be making history at the festival. The revered clarinettist and band leader’s ensemble will be recording its set for a future live album.

The orchestra will debut at another of the festival’s new venues, the JJB Stadium’s Marquee Suite, on Sunday July 10th.

“Being in the audience for this concert is the chance to become a part of history,” said Ian. “We are also delighted to have such a high-profile venue as the home of the Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic hosting a concert.”

There are plenty more star names for this year’s festival and many of the UK’s brightest new lights will be making their names in Wigan.

At the forefront of the UK contingent will be top-rated drummer Dylan Howe, whose quintet will be premiering at Wigan Cricket Club on Friday July 15th.

Ian said:

“When we started the festival 20 years ago we knew we had created something magical. It’s been quite a ride so far and we can safely say we have brought some of the biggest names in music to Wigan. This year’s no exception and we are now all waiting for the fun to begin in July.”

Tickets for the 20th Wigan International Jazz Festival will be on sale soon — for regular updates visit the official Wigan Jazz Festival website.

To request a festival brochure and / or to be placed on the festival mailing list call (01942) 825677.

All artists appear by arrangement with Ernie Garside Productions.

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