Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival

Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival 2014
/ Mar
Live Festival Updates:

Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival 2014

Bristol, England, UK
Colston Hall
51.45509, -2.597755 (View Map)
3 Days (Tue, 07 Mar 2017 - Thu, 09 Mar 2017)
Ticket Price
FREE - £25.80
Festival Planned

The 2014 Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival will be held on March 7-9th in the center of Bristol, UK. 40 concerts are scheduled as well as numerous late-night jam sessions and masterclasses, many of which are conducted by headline acts.

Confirmed acts include Pee Wee Ellis, Imelda May, Zigaboo Modeliste, Fred Wesley,  Andy Sheppard and Osibisa to name but a few.


Video Highlights of the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival 2013

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The Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival is now in its second year. The 2013 lineup included: Chris Barber, The Duke Ellington Sacred Concert, Jonny Bruce, Pee Wee Elllis, Lillian Boutte, Brass Junkies, James Morton’s Porkchop, David Newton, Moonlight Saving Time, Ginger Baker, John Scofield.

2013 Festival Overview from London Jazz News (thanks guys).

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Lineup & Schedule

The 2014 Bristol Jazz Festival lineup and programme is shown below.

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Check back regularly for further updates…
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what do you think of this years lineup?


Tickets for the Bristol International Jazz Festival 2014 are anywhere between FREE and £25.80 depending on which acts you see. Tickets for various performances can be purchased from: This Colston Hall Link. Prices for each performance is shown in the above table.

Please help secure the future of this event by sharing on your social media channels. It only takes 2 seconds and with your support we can increase exposure of the event, boost ticket sales, attract more festival-goers and organize better festivals for the future. We need your support, if you can, please help. Thank you.


The venue for the 2014 Bristol Jazz Festival is Colston Hall (Hall 1) and The Lantern. Smaller ‘fringe’ events will take place in the Top Bar and Foyer.

Address: Colston St, Bristol BS1 5AR, United Kingdom (view map)
Phone: +44 844 887 1500



The Colston Hall offers numerous options for food during the Bristol Jazz Festival. The Colston Hall Café Bar will have recently been through a renovation by the time the festival rolls around. The Café Bar is run by Bath Ales and offers a full menu all day, 7 days a week. Food is reasonable and well priced.

There are also a number of Stalls and Terrace bars which open 1 hour before the start of each show and remain open throughout performances until the end of the event. Beers, cider, wines, spirits, tea and coffee are available along with the common softdrinks and water. The Terrace Bars offer a brilliant view across the city of Bristol, probably the most popular watering hole.

Pieminister Bristol

Pieminister Bristol

Looking to grab a meal before or after going to the festival? I’d recommend faithful Trip Advisor (Bristol Restaurants) and Visit Bristol (Food and Drink) for reviews and suggestions.

My personal fav. Pieminister >>

Flights & Transportation

Bristol Airport Car Park Map

Car Park Map

The closest international airport to Colston Hall, Bristol is Bristol Airport (BRS).

Distance from Bristol Airport to Bristol City Center is 14 Kilometers (8.8 miles), travel time in a car or taxi is 20 minutes.


Currently 14 airlines operate from Bristol Airport:

To get the best flight deals I would use SkyScanner‘s official search widget below.

Ground transportation options to and from the airport.

Hotels & Accommodation

Radisson Blue Hotel, Bristol

Radisson Blue Hotel, Bristol

The cheapest hotel and accommodation options I could find in and around Bristol during the Jazz & Blues Festival (early March) are shown below (Click HERE for a complete list).

Check out the nicest hotel in Bristol >>

*** Hotel prices rise exponentially as you get closer to the festival dates. Book early to avoid disappointment. ***

Hotels Combined

If you are on a super shoe-string budget then search HostelWorld and get a bed in Bristol for as little as £15.00! – (Private rooms £18.00+)

I would recommend checking Bristol hotel reviews on TripAdvisor prior to placing any booking. Alternatively, why don’t you try something different and rent someones apartment during the festival period at AirBnB?! Click here for a free £15 credit towards your first booking!

Note that there is NO TENT CAMPING at the Bristol Jazz and Blues Fest. However, if you really did want to camp, either in a tent or your RV/Motorhome, then you can check out the nearby facilities on UK Campsite – Bristol.


Denny Ilett, Artistic Director, Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival

Denny Ilett, Artistic Director

Recently Festival Archive was lucky enough to interview Denny Ilett, Artistic Director of the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival. We asked him a few questions about this years festival, hear what he has to say below.

The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival is now in its 2nd year. Can you tell us give a little history as to how you made your way into your current position?

The short answer is with a huge amount of work, a little luck and a great team dedicated to establishing the event! As a professional musician living in Bristol for 6 years, I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a full-blown international Jazz and Blues festival bringing big names worldwide to play alongside the world class jazz players living and working in Bristol.

Many people would think that planning a festival would be an ideal job but I can imagine that it must be fraught with stresses and complications. During your role within the festival what do you find to be the most challenging aspects of your job?

The biggest challenge is to try to put together a programme that a) interests the local musicians and b) appeals to the broadest range of people possible. I don’t want to create an “exclusive” event, I want folk who may not consider themselves jazz fans to come along and see what a vibrant and exciting art form it really is!

The lineup for this year is very impressive and has a host of many exciting and dynamic performers; which performer are you looking forward to seeing most and do you have any tips for festival go-ers out there seeking some fresh new acts?

I’m very excited to be reuniting Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley, two old friends from James Brown’s seminal 1960’s group. Also Osibisa, the ‘godfathers’ of Afrobeat. Imelda May is always a treat and, if that’s not enough, there’s a Big Band swing dance night where people can dress up and come and dance to jazz music the way the always used to. As for fresh new acts, the free stage in the Foyer is running all weekend with the best groups Bristol has to offer. There’s definitely something for everyone there.

View Rest of Interview

It’s always been a great mystery to me as to how the festival handles act selection. Are there specific criteria that artists have to meet? Are acts selected purely on talent and performance alone or do your gut instincts and emotions come into play when making decisions? Also, who has the final say as to who performs (if there is just one artistic visionary?!)?

There is no mystery; the main criteria is, are they available and can we afford them! Obviously, as the programme starts to take shape I try to incorporate as many different musical styles as possible and will have to avoid an act if they clash stylistically with one we’ve already booked. Creating a balanced programme is the key thing. Final say is with me regarding bands.

What do you think has been the key to the success of the festival last year and what are some of the major difficulties your team are faced with when organizing an event of this calibre?

I think it was successful because it hasn’t been done on this scale before under one roof. The atmosphere that creates is unbeatable. Like everything else, the major difficulties are financial.

Can you tell us a little about your favourite moments of the past 2013 Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival?

The thing I remember most about 2013 was the 1000’s of happy people at the event. I wasn’t prepared for how much that would move me. It was an honour to be part of something that people are still talking about.

Are there any programmes/clinics, educational or otherwise, that run alongside the Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival? If people wished to participate in any of them what is the best way for them to find out some more information?

Yes, we are running some amazing workshops and masterclasses with some truly world class musicians. They will take place at the Folk House all through the weekend. All the info is on our website

Organising a festival of this size takes incredible skill, team-work, coordination and dedication. Outside of your direct festival planning team (who seem to do an outstanding job by the way!) is there any person or groups of people you would like to especially thank for their help in making the festival a success?

As I said earlier, we have a great team who excel in their respective departments. We get along well and have productive, exciting and fun meetings together. Outside of that, my thanks go to the local musicians living and working in Bristol throughout the year and to the venue owners and promoters that still believe that the only REAL way to experience music is live!

Many people say that it’s the festivals diverse range of jazz styles and the introduction of other similar music genres that has led to the success of the festival. How do you manage to walk the fine line between keeping both the jazz purists happy with the programme lineup and audiences with lets say a more ‘general’ taste in music?

That’s the toughest challenge but, as a musician myself, I’ve had many years watching and listening to what people want. Our programme is, I think, unique in the UK in that it celebrates the whole of the jazz genre from the traditional to the ultra modern so there really is something for every taste is music. Newcomers to the genre will find lots to enjoy but you’ll also find jazz purists mixed in with them. Basically, if it’s good, we programme it. It has to be a top quality event or it just wouldn’t work.

What is the biggest marketing challenge you face when trying to spread the word about the festival? Are there any particular avenues or strategies you have focussed on that have led to noticably good results?

You’d have to talk to out fantastic marketing team to get the real answer to that but, as I said earlier, we want to break down the ‘exclusive’ and ‘elitist’ reputation that jazz suffers from and bring it back to the people where it belongs.

For people wishing to help out at the festival this year round can you please tell them a little about any volunteer opportunities you offer or other ways they can help?

No festival would function without a dedicated team of volunteers who are worth their weight in gold. Details for those wishing to apply are on the ‘contact’ page of our website.

What would be your best advice for somebody visiting the festival for the very first time?

Come with an open mind and be prepared for something unexpected!

Can you give an estimate for your predicted turnout/attendance rate for the 2014 Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival?

We drew in over 6000 in 2013, we’d like to see that hit 10,000 this year

And finally, who are your personal all-time favourite jazz performers?

I have 100’s actually but a few would be Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Billie Holiday….. The list is very long!!


We would like to make a special thanks to Denny Ilett and his team for taking the time out of their busy schedule to answer these questions. We wish you all the best with this upcoming festival.

If you require any further information on this festival or would like to leave a message for others then please use the comments section below.

NB. You also find photo gallerieslive festival newstransport information in the tabbed section below. All festival listings are changing continuously, check back regularly.

Post last updated by Paul Thomson on April 30, 2014
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