Birmingham’s main jazz festival announces 200-plus gigs for this summer

Ten-day programme to wow audiences as event returns to pre-pandemic levels

A toe-tapping slideshow has been compiled by the organisers of Birmingham’s most prominent jazz festival to whet appetites for another musical feast this summer.

The 38th Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival takes place between July 15-24, with venues currently being lined up across the region, including plenty in the hip and affluent Westside district in central Birmingham.

This year’s annual festival promises to be well and truly back to its very best with plans to stage more than 200 shows – almost all of them free admission – for the first time since 2019.

Shows at venues in locations including The Mailbox and Brindleyplace are once again likely to prove popular with jazz-lovers.

A five-minute slideshow has been released on YouTube by festival organisers to announce the new dates, with musical accompaniment from Bill Allred’s Goodtime Jazz Band from Florida.

This was recorded live at The Rep’s Café Bar in the heart of Westside and has been distributed internationally on CD and digitally.

The slideshow features photos of performances and workshops from previous jazz festivals - and you can watch it at the top of this story!

Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID, said: “We are delighted to welcome the brilliant jazz festival back to Birmingham’s top entertainment area in and around the golden mile of Broad Street. We can’t wait!”

Jazz Festival 2022 - Birmingham, Sandwell and Westside
Jazz Festival 2022 - Birmingham, Sandwell and Westside
Jazz Festival 2022 - Birmingham, Sandwell and Westside

What is the latest regarding venues and performers?

Tim Jennings, the festival’s commercial and development director, said: “We are recruiting venues at the moment and will then start looking at performers. We are aiming for 200-plus shows, which is the same as in 2019 before the pandemic.

“We still managed to do 35 shows in 2020 at the height of the pandemic between lockdowns, which is something we are probably most proud of, and we presented 140 to 150 shows last year, so we’ve managed to keep it going.”

He added: “This year’s festival is going to be magnificent. Everyone is really looking forward to it and it’s not just music - there are free workshops in jitterbug, ukulele playing, photography and even hand jive.”

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