Festival pays tribute to musical legends

The Galleon bar owner Stephen Pierre is organising a jazz festival in Blackpool
The Galleon bar owner Stephen Pierre is organising a jazz festival in Blackpool
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Tributes will be paid to what would have been the 100th birthday years of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald at a new music festival.

Blackpool Jazz ‘n’ Blues Festival will take place at North Pier’s Sun Lounge and Carousel Bar on Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2, with live music from noon to 8pm.

Stephen Pierre, owner of the Galleon Bar, in Abingdon Street, and a working musician in London, initially planned the event for St John’s Square, but with sponsorship from drinks firm Heineken UK he was unable to secure council backing for the weekend.

But he said the North Pier team had welcomed his idea ‘with open arms’.

“We will showcase musicians from all over the UK, covering all kinds of jazz, from traditional to blues, swing, soul, funk and gospel,” Stephen said.

“Jazz singers will also be paying tribute to the 100th birthdays of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

“North Pier is the perfect setting to establish the festival which I hope will become an annual event in Blackpool’s entertainment calendar.

“Through the Jazz ‘n’ Blues Festival, I hope to attract a wider demographic to the town and help increase awareness of the importance of arts and culture.

“In recent years there has been a sense of optimism with developing arts, culture and heritage which is something I am passionate about.”

The free festival will also be in held partnership with Bispham’s Trinity Hospice, with fund-raising wristbands for sale on both days.

Stephen’s inspiration for the event came from his own experience of playing Blackpool’s bar scene as a youth.

In a bid to emulate the success of other music events such as Lytham Proms and the Fleetwood Folk Festival, Stephen is now seeking a team of volunteers to help organise the event’s debut.

“We hope the Jazz ‘n’ Blues Festival will be a success because of good old-fashioned teamwork and support shown from like-minded volunteers,” he added.

“‘Let’s make it happen’ is our slogan for 2015.”

Anyone who would like to be involved as a musician or volunteer can email register@blackpooljazznbluesfestival.com for more information about the event.