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A moment of madness?

During the Summer of 2023 I had a mad idea that I shared with my wife, Livvy.

To my great surprises she thought it was a good idea and encouraged me to look into it.

That idea was to organise a jazz festival.

Now, I've got no experience of organising festivals, but a couple of things made me feel confident it was something that could be done, and done better than some other festivals.

Why? Well, Livvy and I have been playing music festivals around the country for a number of years now, playing 10 or so a year. These have ranged from small, village type festivals to beer festivals, major 20,000+ festivals and most recently, ones where we've supported well-known musicians at the popular Foodie Festivals.

We've also run a jazz club, Strange Fruit once a month at Gallery No.30 in Petersfield. This has provided a steep learning curve in how to deal with musicians and audiences. What they like and dislike and how to make it special for everyone. It also enabled us to widen our network amongst jazz musicians and meet some of the best in the business.

Armed with this knowledge and experience we started planning - and planning, and planning. I've never created so many spreadsheets before, and my day job as an advertising Planner has come in very handy. Our friends really enjoyed my 80 slide PowerPoint on the types of toilets to hire and which font to use for the logo, you could tell from their happy snores.

The original plan was to start small, a festival for an audience of about 100 and local bands. When I mentioned it to some of the musicians at Strange Fruit their enthusiasm and support, plus the musician friends they have recruited have made this far bigger, we're aiming at 500 now. The musicians are internationally renowned and have played with a who's who of bands and talent.

It's a journey of discovery and excitement. With lots of support and intricate planning, this festival promises to be very special.

In my next blog I'll share some of the experiences we've had so far.

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