Village pub to host a top jazz festival

Rising stars Metamorphic
Rising stars Metamorphic

An international jazz festival is to be staged at a Little Horwood pub in May.

The internet-based Europe Jazz Radio-UK has chosen The Shoulder of Mutton for its spring jazz festival, which has been named Off The Shoulder.

Headline act Simon Spillett

Headline act Simon Spillett

It will be a free, two-day festival of jazz and blues music with top-line performers coming together to showcase their talent over the late spring bank holiday weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25.

The actual line-up will be announced nearer the time but it is set to include, among other top names, The Bennett Soundy Quartet, The Simon Spillett Quartet, Blues Is Truth and Metamorphic.

The weekend will also include the regional section of the Young Jazz Performers Award, designed to promote the best jazz artist or ensemble up to the age of 23 and to keep jazz alive.

Online radio station UK Jazz Radio was founded by jazz musician and broadcaster Brian Soundy and internet radio pioneer and broadcaster John Hicks in 2009, taking the jazz world by storm.

The connection with The Shoulder Of Mutton was made after the Brian Soundy Quartet were special guests at the pub’s own charity music festival, Shoulder Fest, last August.

Brian Soundy, who plays bass in his son’s quartet, said: “Having first visited the pub last year to play as part of ShoulderFest, I just knew it was a perfect venue for an outdoor festival. As our station develops, a festival like this can be broadcast direct to our audience in over 10 countries and we will use the opportunity, in conjunction with The National Jazz Archive and its subsidiary, UK Jazz Television, to look at televising it.”

Landlady of The Shoulder of Mutton, Annette Buckler, said: “We were overwhelmed when Brian asked us, but we have always promoted music and this will be a natural follow-on from ShoulderFest, the charity event we ran last year, and will of course be doing again this year.

“Like Brian, we love to promote talent and our open mic nights, which Brian and his son Bennett have been known to drop in at, is our way.

“For Off The Shoulder, we are planning lots of supporting activities, including craft stalls, alternative entertainment, lots of good food and of course, as a pub, lots to drink.

“It’s going to be a great weekend.”

Annette’s father, Ron Buckler, is working closely with Mr Soundy to organise Off The Shoulder.

Mr Buckler said: “This is going to be a great weekend for me. Last year when we put Shoulder Fest on, it was wonderful. We raised about £3,000 in an afternoon for the two charities. it was very, very busy. This one could potentially be so much bigger and if it works this year I know they want to continue it on an annual basis.”

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