Swanage 2021 Jazz Festival

calendar_today 09 Jul 21 Vary - Weekend and Day Strollers available.

We are very sad to announce that for reasons beyond our control we are postponing Swanage Jazz Festival to 9 – 11 July 2021.

We cannot guarantee that social distancing will be lifted or that venues will be able to re-open in time to guarantee the festival can run this year.

We are writing to all ticket holders with options.

We hope to be able to run the Festival again in 2021. Meantime we are in discussion with the artists due to appear this year about ways we can help them and bring digital projects to you on this site.  We will update you when we know more here and on Facebook.


The 31st Swanage Jazz Festival

Top Names for Swanage  2020

9th – 11th July 2020

 Swanage Jazz Festival announces its preliminary line up of top British Jazz names after a successful event in 2019.

The electric trumpet player Yazz Ahmed headlines the Saturday night with her seven piece Hafla Band performing extracts from ‘La Saboteuse’ and her much admired ‘Polyhymnia’ album which is a tribute to seven outstanding women.

The Sunday night is headlined by The Simon Spillett Big Band performing the music of Tubby Hayes. The 18 piece band features some of the top names in British Jazz including Art Themen, Henry Lowther, Alan Barnes, Mark Nightingale, Alec Dankworth and Clark Tracey.

Swanage Jazz Festival is reviving its Friday programme. The afternoon kicks off with the popular Steam Train ride and Jazz Dance featuring Chris Walker’s Pedigree Jazz Band.  The Friday night headline act is The Southampton Jazz Orchestra performing Miles Davis’ evergreen ‘Sketches of Spain’ with a guest trumpet soloist to be announced. 

The rest of the programme features a wide range of well-respected artists including: The Clark Tracey Quintet, The Alan Barnes Band, The Alison Rayner Quintet, vibes player Nat Steele’s Portrait of The Modern Jazz Quartet, Adam Glasser’s South Africa and Beyond, The Craig Milverton Trio with Greg Abate, and  Indo-Jazz clarinettist Arun Ghosh.

At the more contemporary end of the spectrum the Festival will feature Martin Speake’s Charukesi and also Kate Westbrook’s GRANITE, featuring Mike Westbrook on piano.  Rising stars include Xhosa Cole and his sextet with Art Themen, Tom Waters’ Innit and The Ben Dwyer Jazz Xperiment.

Swanage has long featured a mix of the best Contemporary and Traditional Jazz.  The latter programme includes piano legend Keith Nichols and his Septet performing 1920s jazz classics, Ma Bessie and her Blues Troupe performing a Bessie Smith focussed set, early Ellington specialists The Harlem Meer Cats, Mike Denham’s Sunset Café Stompers, Rachel Hayward’s all female band ‘Hotsy Totsy’ and Chris Batchelor’s Pigfoot.

The Festival is bringing back some of the best ‘regional bands’ that drew audience acclaim in 2019 with the Afro-beat band Thokozile, The Sound of BlueNote with a tribute to Horace Silver, the jazz fusion outfit Spiral and Tenor Saxophonist Terry Quinney with a tribute to Dexter Gordon.

The Festival expects to be promoting around 60 acts over the weekend including a free Fringe Festival with around 20 sessions by local bands in Swanage pubs and hotels.

Tickets are £98 for Weekend Strollers (Fri – Sun), £65 for Day Strollers with Student and Family Discounts available. The Steam Train and Jazz Dance is separately ticketed (£17). And there is a £10 supplement for the Simon Spillett Big Band, available only to Weekend or Day Ticket holders.

Full details are on the Festival’s website www.swanagejazzfestival.com. Tickets are available online from the website or by post from Swanage Jazz Festival 10 Globe Close, Swanage BH19 2RF

The Festival expects to announce the full and final programme with all venues and timings in early April.

Paul Kelly, Swanage Jazz Festival Chair said,  “I am delighted that following last year’s successful event, we are able to strengthen this year’s programme.  Our aim is to build Swanage back to one of the UK’s top jazz Festivals in one of the most distinctive seaside locations for jazz.  Our line-up this year includes a wide range of the very best acts with a mix of industry legends and rising stars. The Festival Team and I are also really pleased to be able to bring back some of the excellent regional names that went down so well with audiences last year.”