Music legends to bring swing to 25th Marsden Jazz Festival

Jazz legend Digby Fairweather and iconic musician Paul Jones are set to make the Marsden Jazz Festival (October 7-9) go with a swing in its 25th anniversary year.

Digby Fairweather (Image Credit Chris Ure)
Digby Fairweather (Image thanks to Chris Ure)

Fairweather, described by the late Johnny Dankworth as “one of our most articulate jazzmen in both his words and his music,” returns to the village for the first time since his debut in 1992.

Now, the one-time qualified librarian is back at the 19th century Mechanics Hall performing a special show alongside ex Manfred Mann front man and BBC Radio 2’s Paul Jones.

Headline acts for the anniversary show, sponsored by Yorkshire Water, also include 10-piece band, Jazz Jamaica, Anglo-American super group, The Impossible Gentlemen, and Jazz FM Awards 2016 nominee Nérija.

In addition, the Festival feature the renowned Saturday street parade, an artisan market in Marsden’s Victorian park and well over 100 hours of live music at 25 venues, including more than 60 free gigs and events.

Festival Producer Barney Stevenson said: “We’re really excited by the line-up for this year’s festival and it will be great to have Digby Fairweather back in Marsden for his only show with Paul Jones in 2016 to help us celebrate our 25th year.

“The festival has grown quite a bit over the past two and a half decades, and we’re proud to showcase dozens of youth and community bands alongside internationally-acclaimed artists.”

Other headline acts include 20-piece hip hop big band Abstract Orchestra, Montreal trio Trifolia and Lancashire-based swing group The Swing Commanders.

A tribute to influential American jazz musician Jaco Pastorius will also be performed by the Ben Crosland Quartet with special guests Martin Shaw and Mick Hutton.

Four acts will be appearing on Marsden’s New Stream stage this year, which features new and experimental jazz. Fraser Fifield and Graeme Stephen; Eskelin, Bourne and Sharkey; the Anton Hunter Trio; and Dave Kane are all performing at the Royal British Legion on the Saturday of the festival weekend.

Marsden Jazz Festival Poster 1992The Marsden Festival has attracted some of jazz’s biggest names over the last quarter of a century including Humphrey Lyttelton, Marion Montgomery, Stan Tracey, Helen Shapiro, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk.

Yorkshire Water‘s Community Engagement Advisor, John Bond, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to be the headline sponsor for this year’s jazz festival in Marsden, where we’re investing £5 million in a safety improvement scheme at nearby Butterley reservoir.

“We acknowledge the importance of what is fast becoming a world-renowned event and hope that our involvement will help make this year’s festival the best ever.”

Marsden Jazz Festival was named ‘Outstanding Established Festival’ at the Yorkshire Gig Guide Grassroots Awards 2015.

Festival fans are being given the chance to support the 25th festival by adopting one of the free gigs for £50. Everyone who makes a donation will receive an e-certificate and have their name printed in the 2016 festival programme. More details are available at

Tickets are on sale now online at, by calling 0800 6125 649 (10am-4pm, Monday-Friday), or at the jazz festival office in the library at Marsden Mechanics (10am-4pm, Tuesday-Friday).


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