The largest Big Band Jazz Festival returns to Sunderland


Sunderland is hosting one of the UK’s biggest jazz festivals with over 600 musicians gathering in the city next week.

The Great North Big Band Jazz Festival is coming to the city for 11th successive year on Friday, February 28 and will last until Sunday, March 2.

It is estimated that the festival has attracted more than 200 bands, with more than 4,000 performers playing to well over 10,000 people on the banks of the river Wear.

The festival will take place at the North Shore bar of Sunderland University’s St Peter’s Campus, launching at 8pm on February 28, with the Paul Jones/Mick Donnelly Quintet, Whitburn Academy Big Band and the Festival Big Band whose set will include compositions by three 16-year-old students from the region.

Bill Watson, Festival Director, said: “Year on year we have been successful in extending the reach of The Great North Big Band Jazz Festival well beyond the North of England. With bands coming to Sunderland from as far afield as Cardiff it’s fair to claim that the Festival has a national profile.

“This year with support from the University of Sunderland and the Sir James Knott Trust we have been able to give Sunderland youngsters the opportunity to participate in a series of free professionally tutored jazz workshops, with the most promising performing at The Great North Big Band Jazz Festival.”

The Jazz Festival will continue on Saturday, March 1 with the Open Section on stage from 11am to be followed by a concert given by three bands from 6:30pm.

The Schools Section will then begin on Sunday, March 2 at 11am until selected bands in each of the Schools and Youth Sections perform with mentors Paul Jones and Mick Donnelly.

Daily admission to all of the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival events costs £8 (children under 16 years free) and tickets are available at the door on the night.

Free parking is available at the venue as well as a licensed bar and food.

Day tickets are available at the door for £8 with entry free for children aged under 16.


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