Do you love rhythm and blues? Does your heart sing when you listen to the sax? Then we’ve got just the event for you. The Cheltenham Jazz Festival is one of the Europe’s leading jazz festivals, featuring international headline acts, cutting-edge jazz and unique collaborations.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival, in association with BBC Radio 2, returns in May with tonnes of jazz, plus a variety of blues, soul, R&B and pop. With 50 concerts over six days, loads of free music and pop-up performances in Cheltenham’s streets and bars, plus a fantastic food offer, it’s the hottest May Bank Holiday ticket around.
When: 5 – 10 May 2020.
Where: Montpellier Gardens and surrounding areas.
Getting there: Cheltenham Spa is well served by CrossCountry, including direct services from many mainline stations including Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, York, Sheffield and Edinburgh.
Montpellier Gardens is in the centre of town, a 15-minute bus journey away from Cheltenham Spa Station. If it’s a nice day, why not walk to the festival? It will take around 20 minutes.
Tickets: Much of the festival is free but concerts in certain venues are ticketed. Tickets will go on sale to Members at 10am on Wednesday 26 February and on general sale from 10am on Wednesday 4 March 2020.
If you’re spending a few days in Cheltenham, why not head out to the Cotswolds, an area of outstanding natural beauty in the UK.
What to expect?
The festival hosts over 20,000 visitors each year who come from all over the country to listen to jazz greats and check out the emerging talent whilst they’re there. Established in 1996, Cheltenham Jazz Festival has continually grown a little each year, and boasts fans including Jamie Cullen and Moira Stuart among its followers.
Montpellier Gardens is the central hub for the festival village, but pop-up stages appear across the town centre providing toe-tapping talent which you can watch for free all day. Additional venues including galleries, cafés and pubs also provide more intimate venues, so there’s loads to see, or, more accurately, hear.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2020 has an incredible line up and even if you’re not a massive jazz head, you are sure to know some of the performers. UK soulstress Beverley Knight, R&B funk legends KC & The Sunshine Band, Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May with the Ronnie Scott's Big Band and multi-million-selling vocalist Emeli Sandé will also be performing. Not to mention Gregory Porter, Saving Grace ft. Robert Plant & Suzi Dian and Booker T Jones.
What else can you do?
If you’re a musician, you used to play an instrument, or you’ve always dreamt of doing so, get over to the Yamaha Discovery Space. Here, you can inspire your inner musician with a whole host of musical events and fun hands-on sessions aimed at adults and children alike.
And that’s not the only thing for kids at the festival. Other family highlights include the return of Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure For Kids. Shlomo is a world record-breaking beatboxer who makes all kind of music with his mouth and mic. The kids will love the funny sounds, brilliant noises and funky music he produces.
Silent disco anyone? Well not quite a disco but head over to the Yamaha Silent Bandstand, grab some headphones, and sit back and relax listening to a great line-up of silent performances.
Keep a look out for Jazz Puddles marked on the floor around Cheltenham. Jump into the puddle to be enveloped by jazz music from a Festival artist. And the best bit? You don’t need your wellies!
And if you don’t get enough jazz at the festival, you can also check out the Henry Watson Sessions. An unmissable series of intimate performances filmed backstage at the Festival and shared online.
Food and Drink
There will be a great selection of food and drink traders at the festival, so you can grab a bite to eat as you enjoy the jazz. Alternatively, there are loads of great places to eat near Cheltenham train station, so you could get something beforehand if you’d prefer.
CrossCountry has services running to Cheltenham Spa from all over the country, throughout the year. Remember to buy an Advance ticket to CrossCountry via our Train Tickets app.
Photo Credit: www.stillmovingmedia.co.uk