Jazz in Dire Need! Announcing The Sad Demise of the Hemsby Jazz Parades!


Jazz UK has lost of yet another long established festival venue!

The Lakefront Loungers, Hemsby Autumn Parade circa 2010

Sadly, Pete Lay has announced that this Autumn’s Jazz Parade at Seacroft, Hemsby (29th September/2nd October) will be the last, with the 9th/12th 2018, March Jazz Parade, called off. In Pete’s own words: “So after nearly 30 years of Hemsby jazz breaks, time has been called.”

Pete continued: “As from November 30th 2017, the site will be closing for a major refurbishment and new build. It will not re-open until March 31st 2018. Richardson’s, the company who own the site, have decided that when it re-opens it will not remain an ‘adults only’ venue and will join forces with the Richardson’s owned venue next door to become a ‘Family Holiday Village’. This means, that, after this September’s Autumn Jazz Parade, there will no longer be any more jazz breaks presented at Seacroft. This decision, taken by Richardson’s, was based on the falling attendances for most of the regular themed events that they put on – Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jazz, R ‘n’ B and Country and Western etc. It seems that audiences didn’t warm to the new ballroom being used, in fact voting with their feet. Unfortunately, this in some ways, is responsible for this decision change.”

My Jazz Portrait of Mike Pointon on Trombone at Hemsby. He said his cheeks were wrong but owned up!

There’s that old music hall number “It’s the same the whole world over ……!” But in this case, whoever or whatever gets the blame, there is another lesson to be learnt. Can younger generations be lured back to our kind of music?

This has become something of a theme on Jazz&Jazz. And it needs tackling.

My Love For and Involvement in Jazz
I was lured into jazz in my teens and early years but not as an ardent fan. It was simply the in thing in the late ’50s/60’s. Then a while ago two mates from teenage years told me they were back into jazz and had joined the ranks of ageing jazz fans. So they dragged me along to a few pub venues in East Kent and lo and behold I was hooked. The Hemsby Autumn Jazz Parade was next in the mix. Ginny and I first went along with close friends in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. And I attended again in 2012 and 2013.

It happened in 2009!
2009 was the last of the Ken Colyer Trust, Hemsby, Autumn Jazz Parades before Pete Lay took over. And of all things my wife won the very last Ken Colyer Trust Nationwide Prize Draw. A trip for two to New Orleans for the French Quarter Festival. There’s much about that elsewhere on Jazz&Jazz.

Thanks to Hemsby, I was thrilled to be at The Palm Court, New Orleans, in 2010 for one of Lionel Ferbos’ final performances.

Launching Jazz&Jazz
That did it! I had to give something back to Jazz. I had already launched the Jazz&Jazz website, but for the purpose of displaying portraits I had taken to painting of jazz musicians. Now the site had to become much more than an online portrait gallery. And we revamped it to “Celebrate the Joy of Jazz” – to feature, promote and debate jazz at every opportunity!

Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle
Then came Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle. A group of friends in East Kent had become involved in launching a brand new jazz festival. They are mentioned in my recent Seaside Shuffle Feature:

“A huge vote of thanks goes to the Shuffle Organising Team, Ron, Christine, John and Paul, for a brilliant festival and for jazz throughout the year with the monthly club sessions. I can’t make the journey every month for the club meets, but I haven’t missed a single festival yet since Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle got off to an amazing start in 2011. Joyous, tantalising jazz!”

Pete Lay with his Gambit All Stars

Pete Lay must again be mentioned here because, and thank you Pete, he along with his Gambit Jazzmen, was very involved in the early years in helping get The Shuffle off the ground. Seaside Shuffle isn’t a huge or a pretentious festival, it doesn’t intend to be, but is a very friendly festival. Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle now runs monthly club sessions in The Small Boat Owners Club.

Back to The Hemsby Jazz Parade – First Location for Jazz&Jazz YouTubes
So back to Hemsby and my the magical iPhone/Lens Camera combination which I first used there to film my hi-definition Jazz&Jazz YouTubes. Admittedly, the vast Hemsby theatre wasn’t the best venue acoustically for filming and recording, but for memories sake, here are just two to demonstrate what Hemsby fans will be missing:

Financial Implications for Jazz and for Jazz&Jazz
The recent developments at Hemsby accentuate the issues jazz is experiencing. And has to face up to if we are to continue to reap support from older fans and more importantly to foster a solid following of younger fans. Yes, younger fans want younger bands and musicians. But we already have them, in increasing numbers! They tend to play at their own preferred venues, but sometimes they also enjoy playing at our traditional clubs – and if they can afford it they do so! (There are often out-of-the-way travel and overnight expenses which clubs might not be prepared to meet).

For instance, Doolally Tap at Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle – they were paid in full and received a standing ovation.

Simply put, bands and musicians have to be paid for – and they deserve every penny they ask for!

Money Is the Bottom Line
Plus, and here’s the rub, this website, Jazz&Jazz, also needs to be financed. Quite frankly, it’s in need of, and plans are afoot for a redesign and upgrade, and not just to keep up with the times. Up to now it’s been all my own work, time and effort which has kept the site going for jazz, with just the occasional contribution towards the considerable costs. In fact I’m having to strictly ration the venues, festivals, clubs, bands and musicians I follow due to lack of funds. And this despite requests. Helps me realise what it is to be a jazz musician!

Hemsby Grand Marshal Jimbo, now sadly departed. (Fine Art Print & Poem).

I recently had a call from a jazz enthusiast involved at a high level. He had come across Jazz&Jazz for the first time. He simply couldn’t credit that it’s “all my own work” –  the Jazz&Jazz site, Social Media outlets and 700 plus YouTubes etc. He asked how many I have working on the site, covering events, copywriting, filming for, editing and producing YouTubes etc etc. When I told him just me, he was speechless given the people at the jazz outlets he is involved with.

So the message is, if you love jazz and want to see it thrive, please do all you can to support promoters, our bands, musicians, clubs, and festivals. Turn up, pay up and perhaps even spare a dime or two to help finance this website (there’s a donate button in the right hand column).

Donations will get ploughed back into supporting jazz by covering my expenses – perhaps with just a little on the side to reward my efforts (which I don’t get at present!). And if I make that elusive million I could even help finance tours by some of the favourite overseas bands many of you frequently wish for. Promise!

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz
(Photos and YouTubes © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)

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