Ribble Valley Jazz Festival

Ribble Valley Jazz Festival 2014
/ May
Live Festival Updates:

Ribble Valley Jazz Festival 2014

Clitheroe, Lancashire, England, UK
The Atrium Café Bar @ Clitheroe Castle
53.870509, -2.393006 (View Map)
5 Days (Mon, 01 May 2017 - Fri, 05 May 2017)
Ticket Price
FREE - £20.00
Festival Planned

For 5 days in early summer each year the Ribble Valley Jazz Festival attracts over 7,000 people who swarm to this small, rural Lancashire town to watch performances from the best local and national jazz artists in the UK. Now in it’s 5th year, the festival has grown from strength to strength and now features a number of musical workshops and after hours jam sessions.


This Years RV Jazz & Blues Fest Lineup & Video Highlights of Previous Years

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The RV Jazz & Blues Festival was founded in 2007. It wasn’t until 2009 that the festival was fully formed and in 2010 the festival became officially registered as a charity.

Check out this short video for a further look into the history of the event.

A Short Video on the History of the RV Jazz Festival

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Lineup & Schedule

The 2014 Ribble Valley Jazz Festival lineup is shown below.

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

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.


Tickets for the 2014 RV Jazz Festival are anywhere from FREE – £20.00 depending on which acts you see. Prices for events can be found in the above table. Tickets for performances at The Grand can be purchased online at: www.thegrandvenue.co.uk.


2014 RV Jazz and Blues Festival Venue Map

RV Jazz & Blues Festival Venue Map

There are numerous venues for the Ribble Valley Jazz Fest this year, all of which are located in the town centre of Cliteroe. All are within easy walking distance of one another.

If you’re driving into the town then you’ll be pleased to hear that in the evenings, parking is free and there is ample space.

The Main Venues

The Atrium Café Bar

The Atrium

The Atrium

The Atrium at Clitheroe Castle, Castle Hill, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 1BA
Café telephone: 01200 442630
Café bookings and information telephone: 0845 837 3826
Website: www.atriumclitheroe.co.uk
Email: info@atriumclitheroe.co.uk

The Grand Theatre

The Grand Theatre

The Grand Theatre

18 York Street, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 2DL Tel: 01200 421 599
Website: www.thegrandvenue.co.uk

Flights & Transportation

BLK Airport Map

BLK Airport Map

The closest international airport to Clitheroe is the Blackpool International Airport (BLK). Distance from Blackpool Airport to the town center is 35 miles (56 km) and takes around 50 minutes in a car or taxi to get there.

Currently 3 airlines operate from Blackpool Intl. Airport:

Jet 2
Air Lingus Regional

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

Hotels & Accommodation

Higher Trapp Hotel, Clitheroe

Pure Luxury…

The cheapest hotel and accommodation options I could find in and around Clitheroe during the RV Jazz Fest (early May) are shown below (Click HERE for a complete list).

Check out the nicest hotel in Clitheroe!!

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

Hotels Combined

I would recommend checking Clitheroe 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!


Geoffrey Jackson

Geoffrey Jackson

Recently Festival Archive was lucky enough to interview Geoffrey Jackson, Trustee Member of the RV Jazz Fest. We asked him a few questions about this years festival, hear what he had to say below.

The Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Festival is now in its 5th year which is a brilliant achievement and one you must be proud of. Can you tell us how long you have been working with the festival and give a little history as to how you made your way into your current position?

Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues was formed in May 2007 after a public meeting attended by 40 local people. It took us two years of regular Friday evening gigs before we realised there was plenty of local support for a Festival. We found out there had been a couple of festivals in the 1960’s, and have an old photo of a 1960’s audience! Anyway, we started planning for a new jazz festival in mid-2009, changing our legal status early in 2010, becoming a charitable company partly to impress funders, but also to give protection to committee members against financial risk. Some of us had experience of project management, and others knew of successful festivals, so between us we came up with a model we felt would work, and was a modest risk for our first one. Funding from the Lottery gave us confidence, and our 2010 Jazz Festival in the rural market town of Clitheroe, the first for nearly 50 years, adopted a basic model of running about 6 ticketed gigs featuring well known UK jazz artists hosted in a fine Clitheroe theatre, including Jaqui Dankworth & Alan Barnes, combined with about 15 free gigs in local hotels and restaurants featuring good regional and local bands. The model seemed to work well – good audiences, and breaking even financially! Every year since we have innovated, taking a few more risks, booking higher profile musicians and bands, and increasing audiences significantly.

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?

Well! For a start all of us on the Planning Group are volunteers, with a passion for jazz (and a bit of blues!) and a commitment for putting something back into our local community. Having said that, we would all testify that there have been challenges bringing stress at times. Programming the Festival with bands of the right calibre, to a tight timetable, and at the right price, has been the biggest task – it’s the first part of what is a 12 month commitment in working towards the next festival. But we have a good planning team – eight of us with a range of good experiences in business, community development, and finance – and a common experience of the thrills of jazz!

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?

We are very pleased with the 2014 lineup, and eagerly awaiting Dennis Rollins’ performance with Velocity Trio. Dennis is a top UK trombonist, and a popular festival musician – he is also running a Trombone Workshop for 20 trombonists! The appearance of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra will be a special event for many of us. Never been to Clitheroe before, we will experience future top UK jazz musicians. Festival go-fers can get a Rover Ticket and not miss anything – but why not download the festival brochure, or ask for a printed copy, and take time to browse through the 20 pages, looking at the 35 bands, and try something a bit new-to-you? How about Dub Jazz Sound System on Saturday night – funky jazzin’ – Manchester favourites to dance to.

Show 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?!)?

Selecting festival bands is an art-form itself, and the task never stops from one festival to the next. Planning Committee members have their own favourites, and we get stacks of enquiries from agents and bands – probably about five every day of the week! As soon as the 2013 ended, a couple of weeks’ rest & recuperation, and off we go again – evaluate the 2013 performances, feedback from venues, audiences and bands, and checkout the criterial for 2014. Criterial doesn’t change a great deal. We want a broad based programme — something for everyone. Four or five big name bands, and some top regional bands, complimented by local bands. Bands and musicians must entertain, not play for themselves. They must communicate well with an audience. Liane Carroll, and James Taylor Quartet, did this superbly in 2013. A balanced programme will include a big band experience, performances for and by young people, probably a female vocalist costs – something new and contemporary. We much prefer to have seen bands before booking them. Finally, bands fees…we try and pay reasonable fees, but it’s getting the right combination – size of venue, likely ticket sales,and band costs all have to add up to the chance of not just value for money for audiences, but will gigs make some money? Personal preferences come into it, and yes, gut instinct, but all of this is filtered through the Planning Group for final decisions. We get it right most of the time.

Over the years the festival has grown from strength to strength and has now established itself as one of the great events in the international jazz festival circuit; what do you think has been the key to the festivals continued success and what are some of the major difficulties your team are faced with each year?

We are aiming for the Festival Big League – and after 5 years we are nearly there. We can guarantee a great experience for real jazzers. The increasing popularity of Ribble Valley Jazz Festival is down to having a balanced and broad based programme that ensures no-one will miss out. And, year on year, keep innovating. Bring in new features, new experiences that attract new audiences. In 2012 we introduced a Blues Stage in the Rose & Crown Hotel. In 2013 we brought in a Saturday Street Jazz Festival to a marquee in the Clitheroe High Street designed to introduce young bands, including a couple of school big bands – alongside some festive street entertainment. Marketing the festival is the biggest challenge – getting the right proportion between printed and online promotions. Feedback from audiences in 2013 was that our brochure was the most effective form of recruitment – but increasingly putting more effort into online marketing has to be the way forward – good web site – presence on Facebook and Twitter – increased spending on online promotions, and building up a sizeable email list – these are all time consuming jobs, but essential to a good outcome. Keeping on top of both printed and online Listing opportunities – now there is a huge task for one of the team.

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

Favourite Moments – Big performances are always memorable – I was very impressed by Liane Carroll’s gig. She is a quality jazzer – piano and vocals of course. And she entertains the audience exceedingly well. It’s like you end up friends with her before the end of the gig, never having met her before. But there are lots of other nice touches – we are starting to get some regular returners – like a couple from Scarborough who you look out for, and have a good chat about what they have enjoyed during the weekend. They booked into Post House Hotel in December or early Jan. Seeing new festival features succeeding is a treat as well – the Blues Stage at the Rose & Crown Hotel was absolutely jam packed for all three sessions last year, and the introduction of the Street Jazz Festival was a hit with shoppers crowding round the marquee, listening to young bands. It’s a great experience for the young people from St Augustines’ Roman Catholic High School Big Band to play outside in front of hundreds of shoppers – a Life Changing Experience for young jazzers aged between 13 & 17?

Are there any programmes/clinics, educational or otherwise, that run alongside the Ribble Valley 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?

We have introduced new workshops and presentations to our festival programme over the past two years – A Piano Summit in 2011 started it off. This year we have a presentation on entitled ‘A Brief History of Piano Jazz’, and workshops based on drumming for beginners, for saxophonists, and trombonists. Interested musicians can look at our online brochure for times and dates. They can download a Workshop Registration Form, or get more info by telephone.

The festival has now been around for a long time and some would say that the past couple of years has been the festivals best years, how do you strive to make each year better than the last and where do you see the festival in 10 years?

We will keep innovating, every year. We will keep the Festival format fresh with new venues and performances. We keep looking out to put on events in unusual places. In 2014 we will spread the festival programme out of Clitheroe into at least two of our attractive Ribble Valley villages. Scottish band, Camerata Ritmata, will be appearing at Grindleton Village Hall,just two miles out of Clitheroe, thanks to collaboration with Spot On Rural Touring organisation. Two bands will be appearing for the first time at the Spread Eagle Hotel at the village of Sawley, just three miles away.

Organising a festival of this calibre 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?

Yes there is someone who fits this bill – it’s John Flanagan from Blackburn! He is a Graphic Designer and Website Developer with an affection for blues and a good few friends in the arts arena. He has been doing all our marketing stuff since we first set up in 2007 – and just as keen now as he was then! Any time and any day you will get a response. We often swap emails past midnight! Serves him right for turning out at our public meeting in 2007…

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 a great question! There are other festivals in the North West that mainly present a contemporary jazz programme – I am thinking about Manchester Jazz Festival, and the Lancaster Jazz Festival. Possibly the organisers plan their programme around their personal choice of music? Which is ok if you get the numbers, which you will in Manchester, and possibly Lancaster – both big student populations, and Manchester is a big city of course. But that’s not our approach in small market town Clitheroe – we try are keep everyone interested in something, and it seems to work ok for us. In this way, there is always the chance that people will see and hear a bit of jazz that challengers what they think jazz is. More than Dixie? Yes! Funky jazz works with young people, and older people as well! Our own Big Band, Ribble Valley Jazz Collective – a community band, was playing in the street at Clitheroe Food Festival in August last year. Halfway through the session Martin went off on a crazy solo during a standard, and the crowd loved it! (I think he might have been to the pub beforehand?!)

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 noticeably good results?

Distribution of 10,000 festival brochures, and 15,000 flyers, has been the best form of marketing in our first four years. Our printed info helps stimulate the spread of info via word-of-mouth which is the most effective means of recruitment. But, we are increasing our efforts to be MEGA online! Just need a few extra volunteers thought to help cover the massive opportunity to keep promotions going through the internet – just keeping up to date with opportunities for entering events online listings is an enormous task – so a few extra reliable bodies helping to make entries on the various Listing sites would give us a huge boost, especially if we want to spread the interest in Ribble Valley Jazz Festival to more people in the wider UK, and further abroad. I think we have some visitors from Finland this year.

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?

This year we have 35 bands featuring 325 musicians (thanks to the big bands) over 5 days – so we do need about 50 volunteers to help with all kinds of tasks, especially by helping to steward/supervise gigs during the weekend. This is an enjoyable task, and volunteer contributions help sustain the festival. Register an interest in volunteering by mid April via info@rvjazzandblues.co.uk, and come to our stewards’ briefing session at our Annual General Meeting late April.

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

First timers should start off by registering an interest in our festival by adding their name to our email list – giving us a chance to update with good news regularly. They should keep looking at our web site for updates, and especially so in December/January when our brochure is available for downloading – www.rvjazzandblues.co.uk Keep a look out for Early Bird ticket offers – Rover Tickets on sale but only till 31 March! And if you are likely to stay over the full weekend, make sure you find somewhere to stay as soon as you can. Above all though, aim for getting a wide experience of all that is good in Jazz on a May Day Bank Holiday Weekend.

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

Our forecast is for 7,000 people attracted to the 2014 Ribble Valley Jazz Festival – a 15% increase on 2013, and boosted by shoppers in our Saturday Street Jazz Festival. Not bad for a small Lancashire rural market town, but a figure we aim to beat year-on-year.

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

Visits to the UK by Duke Ellington in the 1960’s and 70’s started me on the journey through jazz. I once appeared on stage at an Ellington concert in Manchester Free Trade Hall – well, only because the gig was a sell-out and the venue put extra seating on stage! I was sat next to Harry Carney, and got a first rate introduction to baritone sax! Saw Nina Simone at Bridgewater, Manchester in 2011 – an excellent experience. Liane Carroll, top UK vocalist in 2012, was brilliant at our 2013 Festival. Top British jazzers though – Alan Barnes. You can catch him at just about all UK festival.

We would like to make a special thanks to [Pablo] and [his/her] 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.

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Additional Resources

Post last updated by Paul Thomson on April 30, 2014
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