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“So let’s start a Jazz Festival”

Eight years ago Colin Gorrie and Denny Ilett started Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival. They shared the belief that a city like Bristol needed, and deserved, a high calibre festival dedicated to jazz and blues. Bristol’s long and illustrious association with jazz dates back to the ‘50s and ‘60s when a dizzying array of stars – including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald – regularly played to sell out audiences at Colston Hall. And so Colin and Denny’s set out to produce a jazz and blues festival unlike any other for a maverick city that likes to break the rules. Our programme is designed to appeal to music lovers of all ages and tastes and over the years we have successfully grown and diversified our audience considerably. We celebrate jazz and blues in a way that makes these important genres accessible and appealing to a wide and diverse audience – from primary school children to OAPs. Now in its eighth year, with 50% year on year audience growth and increasingly wider appeal, Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival is one of the city’s biggest music events.

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