FESTIVAL NEWS: Marsden Jazz Festival awarded national arts grant

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Photo Credit: David Preston

A Colne Valley festival which was set up over 25 years ago has been awarded a national arts grant to help it raise its profile and secure new income from private donors.

Marsden Jazz Festival is set to receive £30,000 from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Funded Catalyst Small Grants scheme to develop new fundraising opportunities for the annual event, which costs up to £150,000 to stage each year.

The festival was set up in 1992 to support local businesses and bring visitors to Marsden and it still does that today, with around 10,000 gig attendances every year.

Over 150 hours of live music takes place in the village during the second weekend of October each year, including over 70 free gigs, with local school bands performing alongside international jazz superstars.

The festival recently received national recognition on BBC Radio 3 when Jazz Now presenter Soweto Kinch described it as ‘one of the UK’s most adventurous jazz festivals’ during the broadcast of a 2017 gig.

Barney Stevenson, Artistic Director at Marsden Jazz Festival, said:

“We’re delighted to have been selected for this Catalyst grant by Arts Council England and hope it will help spread the word about what we think is the country’s best jazz festival.

“Marsden comes alive with the sound jazz every October and the village’s location in the heart of the Pennines, along with its historic community buildings, makes it the perfect location for live jazz.

“We’ve been really grateful for the support Kirklees Council has given to the festival over the years, but the current economic situation means we need to find new private funders to ensure the festival’s future.”

Over 60 volunteers give up their time to put on Marsden Jazz Festival every year and its Saturday street parade, free gigs and children’s events help to attract a wide audience, with one in three visitors only experiencing live jazz at the festival.

Arts Council England has awarded Marsden Jazz Festival money from its Catalyst Small Grants programme, funded by the National Lottery, to build fundraising capacity and attract more private giving.

The festival is one of 117 successful applicants from across England which will receive a share of £2.8 million to help create a more sustainable and resilient arts and culture sector.

Pete Massey, Director North at Arts Council England, said:

“Marsden Jazz Festival has gone from strength to strength in recent years, showcasing some of the very best UK and international jazz talent in the wonderful Pennine Hills.

“I am therefore delighted to see them benefiting from our Catalyst programme which will help them to transform their fundraising capabilities by working with new sponsors and developing individual giving. I hope that this helps to secure the long term future of this great festival.”

Any businesses or individuals interested in helping to fund Marsden Jazz Festival are encouraged to email office@marsdenjazzfestival.com.