Time to sit and sip at the Jazz, Gin and Blues Festival

Simon Bates big band
Simon Bates big band

Loxwood Meadow is not just home to the joust, now it has its own boutique festival.

The Jazz, Gin and Blues Festival does exactly what it says on the tin.

Tim Staffell and Paul Stewart

Tim Staffell and Paul Stewart

The idea was formed by Simon Bates, who runs Loxwood Jazz and Blues Club, and Maurice Bacon, the organiser of Loxwood Joust.

“The Jazz club sells out every time and we just thought there was scope to do something else,” Simon explains.

“I feel like it is an end of summer party and after the chaos of the joust will be very chilled out,” says Maurice.

The boutique festival will take place in the Loxwood meadows on August 18 from noon until 9pm.

Harry Greene

Harry Greene

“We knew we wanted to do a jazz event, then we added Tim Staffell and Paul Stewart for the blues element and a friend said why don’t you include gin, so we did,” explains Maurice.

Tim Staffell was originally in the band Smile with Brian May and Roger Taylor, when he left they were joined by Freddie Mercury and became Queen.

Other acts performing will Simon and his Big Band, Jazz saxophonist and guitarist Harry Greene, Paz and Shoreditch jazz institution Jazz Train DJs who will play in between the sets.

“There is a particular vibe we want to capture,” says Maurice.

“We both love jazz and live music so it should be a really exciting event.”

Maurice and Simon met through Loxwood parish council.

“I was sat on the council and Maurice had put in an application for the joust and we just got talking,” recalls Simon.

Both Simon and Maurice have worked in the music industry for a number of years.

Maurice started playing in nightclubs in London aged 14 and says he can remember growing up with drum kits in the garage.

He left school at 15 and toured the UK with band Soul Survivors who became Love Affair. On the week of his 16th birthday the band had a number one hit under their belt with ‘Everlasting Love’.

In the late 1970s he stopped playing drums and went into music management and in 2011 he bought Loxwood meadow and started Loxwood Joust.

Simon’s musical roots lie in jazz. He to started to play saxophone aged 14, and over his career has played at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s and the Royal Albert Hall.

He has been musical director for many well known artists including Bette Midler, Rick Astley and Richard Shelton.

Simon has also appeared live and recorded with a wide variety of bands and musicians including Kylie Minogue, Elvis Costello, Jamie Cullum, Sister Sledge, Lulu, Rick Wakeman, Dizzee Rascal, The Sugarhill Gang, Chaka Khan, Emma Bunton, and Seal.

So when it comes to building a stellar line-up for a jazz and blues festival all Simon had to do was look at his address book.

“It is basically my friends,” he laughs.

“Each band will play about an hour set, but it won’t be about the big thumping bass.

“With our band we tend to mic up the soloist but the musicians know how to control their volume.

“I am really hoping to see some of the acts as well.”

Maurice adds: “The Joust is usually so busy that you don’t get a chance to see anything but I am hoping as this will be smaller and chilled I will see a lot.”

Alongside the music the festival will also feature a number of independent local gin producers such as Cabin Pressure (Horsham), Slake Spirits (Shoreham-by-Sea), Madam Jennifer Distillery (Hove) and The Gin Kitchen (Dorking).

There will also be real ale from award-winning Langham Brewery and heritage brews from Loxwood Meadworks.

Food will also be available for veggies, vegans and meat eaters.

“There is no master plan with the event, we just wanted to host a festival with the things we love and see how it goes,” explains Maurice.

For tickets, visit www.jazzginblues.co.uk

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