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Lichfield Blues And Jazz Festival

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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Get in the swing with three days of blues and jazz music
If you love the rhythm of the blues or get down to some funky jazz playing, then Lichfield in Staffordshire is undoubtedly the place for you to be during the beginning of June. The popular Lichfield Blues and Jazz Festival returns to the historical city for 2018 with an exciting and entertaining line-up of stellar names and new talent from both near and far performing over the course of three days from Friday 1st June to Sunday 3rd June.

Stan Webb, Chicken Shack
Stan Webb's Chicken Shack kick off day one of the Blues & Jazz Festival in style


Now in its fourth year since moving back to Lichfield city centre, Lichfield Arts is once again able to offer a superb and varied programme of blues and jazz music made up of established top-class national musicians and excellent regional bands. Blues fans can enjoy the likes of Stan Webb's hard hitting blues, the skilful boogie-woogie of Emma Johnson, the return of local favourites Steve Ajao's Blues Giants and a special appearance by King Pleasure & the Biscuit Boys who are marking an impressive 30 years on the road.

Emma Johnson
Emma Johnson promises plenty of boogie woogie on Saturday night


Jazz fans in turn can enjoy the wonderful saxophone playing of Theo Travis, the powerful trombone of Annie Whitehead, and the poetic lyrical voice of Anglo-American singer Sara Gillespie, all supported by some of the UK's top musicians. In addition, the festival also brings to the stage some of the outstanding musicians who have graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire. Blues and jazz fans are therefore invited to visit Lichfield either for the whole long weekend, a full day, or even just a single concert. The festival will be using a variety of venues across the city, mainly Lichfield Guildhall and The Cathedral Hotel, but also Lichfield Sports Club and Wade Street Church.

Sara Gillespie
Anglo-American vocalist Sara Gillespie appears with her quartet


The festival opens on Friday 1st June with headline act, Stan Webb's Chicken Shack performing at Lichfield Sports Club. Stan was at the heart of the British Blues Boom as he led his band Chicken Shack around the club circuit in the late 60s. Signing for the new Blue Horizon label in 1967 they released their first album '40 Blue Fingers' and opened a big tour for Fleetwood Mac. Support for the evening is provided by four-piece blues band Northbound. Also performing on June 1 are Imperial Strut, formed by drummer Dave Tandy, who regularly plays with the BBC Big Band and the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, who can be seen at The Cathedral Hotel.

Steve Ajao Blues Giants
Steve Ajao makes a welcome Festival return with his band


Saturday 2nd June sees the Emma Johnson Boogie Woogie Quartet headlining at the Lichfield Guildhall at 9pm, while the day will also see performances by Three Step Manoeuvre, the Tom Lindsay Trio, the Zoe Green Band, Robert Jackson, the Annie Whitehead Quartet, The Theo Travis Double Talk, and Blast Off at various venues across the city. The festival then draws to a close on Sunday 3rd June with King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys promising to celebrate their 30th anniversary in style at Lichfield Guildhall from 7pm. Elsewhere on the final day music lovers can see the likes of the Walsall Jazz Orchestra, The Shooters, the Sara Gillespie Quartet, the Steve Ajao Blues Giants, and the Tom Morgan Trio.

King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys
King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys mark 30 years on the road. Credit Merlin Daleman


Full listings are available by visiting www.lichfield-jazz.co.uk while further information can be obtained by either calling the Box Office on 01543 262223 between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday, or by emailing: info@lichfieldarts.org.uk. Tickets for the various concerts cost between 10 and 25 although some events are free
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Why? Stars Of Blues And Jazz Combine For 3-Day Festival
When: 1 - 3 June
Phone: 01543 262223
Where: Lichfield Guildhall, Donegal House, Bore Street, Lichfield WS13 6LU
Cost: Tickets for concerts range from £8 to £25
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