At the end of this month, Eastbourne’s seafront will come alive to the sounds of jazz as musicians from far and wide join local music-makers for the inaugural Eastbourne Splash Point Jazz Festival on 30 September from 2pm until 10.30pm. Emily Palmer writes:
The festival is organised by Splash Point Jazz, who already run a jazz club in Eastbourne and a further five successful clubs around the county. Founder of Splash Point and pianist/singer Neal Richardson has pioneered the festival and will be performing during the day.
“We’re really excited to be presenting this festival and I’m pleased to say that the town has got behind the idea,” says Richardson. “We’ve had terrific support from the Council, Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and our Festival Patron, Eastbourne’s MP Stephen Lloyd. It’s going to be an amazing day celebrating the wonders of jazz, showcasing local talent and giving the residents of Eastbourne a chance to hear artists from further afield as well!”
Twelve gigs will take place throughout the day across the historic East of the Pier heritage area. With over a hundred years of history, Eastbourne’s East of the Pier is an ideal location for the festival and offers three atmospheric venues for the performances: Christ Church Seaside, the iconic Leaf Hall and The Fishermen’s Club. All venues are in walking distance of each other and festival-goers are encouraged to dip in and out of gigs throughout the day to hear as much music as possible.
Photo Credit: Brian O’Connor
Programme Director, Annette Keen sees this part of Eastbourne as the perfect place to host a vibrant cultural event.
“Eastbourne’s East of the Pier has its own fascinating story to tell, one that includes smuggling, the fishing industry and pioneering businessmen,” explains Keen. “It is also home to the Devonshire Collective, a creative and cultural hub with studios, makerspaces, workshops, a gallery and café for the benefit of artists, community members and the wider public. This hub will add another element to our festival that audience members will be able to explore and enjoy.”
The programme at the Fishermen’s Club includes the Geoff Simkins-Andy Panayi Quintet, Brazilian and Cuban music-makers Quinto, Gershwinnovation who will explore a range of classic, contemporary and original interpretations of Gershwin’s timeless melodies, and Art Themen and Friends.
Neal Richardson leads the performances at Christ Church with his band featuring renowned jazz vibraphonist Roger Beaujolais and saxophonist Tommaso Starace, followed by the Craig Milverton & Julian Marc Stringle Quartet, Sue Richardson’s Band Jazz Immortal and Hexagonal who perform music of the late, great South African composer Bheki Mseleku.
Artists including the Susannah Flack Trio, The Hot Club All Stars featuring violinist Mike Piggott, The Paul Richards Trio and The Sara Oschlag Quartet will take to the stage at the Leaf Hall.
Alongside the music programme, the public have the opportunity to view prominent jazz photographer Brian O’Connor’s work at an exhibition at Leaf Hall. O’Connor has been photographing jazz musicians since the 1970s and his collection is a unique record of jazz in this country. A Jazz Lunch will also be on offer at the picturesque seafront Langham Hotel. (pp)
Stroller tickets (£50) giving access to all venues throughout the day, are available at any Splash Point Jazz Club gigs see Splash Point Jazz via WeGotTickets, or from Eastbourne’s Tourist Information Office. All programme information is available on the website, plus profiles of the musicians appearing at the Festival.