Five Red Apples, Five Posies of Flowers and One New Orleans Style Covent Garden Jazz Marching Band!


Just what could that be all about?


Here is a preview but best you spend a pleasant afternoon in Covent Garden, London, on Thursday, 19th June, to experience this unique occasion for yourselves. You’ll need to be there in good time for the ceremony which starts at 4.30pm.

The Covent Garden Marching Band

The Covent Garden Marching Band, June, 2013

It’s all about collecting rents!

“The annual Rent Ceremony is a weird and wonderful occasion when the Chairman and Trustees march around the Piazza, accompanied by the Town Crier and a jazz band, to pay the “peppercorn rents” of five red apples and five posies of flowers for the buildings, known as The Protected Lands, on which the Trust owns a 150-year headlease.” (Covent Garden Area Trust Website) covent-garden

The Covent Garden Jazz Marching Band has been taking part in the Rent Ceremony for 17 years. A “somewhat unique one off group”, the band started out with just six musicians but last year boasted fifteen.

Centre stage - Emile Martyn on Drums, 2013

Centre stage – Emile Martyn on Drums, 2013

This year the band will include:

Trumpets/Cornets: Digby Fairweather, John Keen, Chris Hodgkins and John Wacher.
Reeds: Julian Mark Stringle, Eric Gilchrist and John Evans.
Trombones: Chris Gower, Phil Brown and Tim Wacher.
Banjo: Alan Bradley.
Sousaphone: John Beecham.
Drums: Don Cook and Emile Martyn.
Vocals: John Barnes

Digby Fairweather and Julian Mark Stringle

Digby Fairweather and Julian Mark Stringle

Tim Wacher organises the New Orleans style marching band and informs me the march sets off at 4.30pm from 13, New Row, Covent Garden WC2 (the offices of the Covent Garden Area Trust – opposite Waterstones) and ambles down King Street and around the Piazza – paying rents along the way, pausing outside the Punch and Judy Pub and finishing in the North Hall of the Market for a couple of short speeches.

“Quite a Big Sound”
They then adjourn to the South Courtyard of the Market (outside the Crusting Pipe) where, after a short interval, they play a second (stationary!) set for about an hour, finishing around 6.30pm. This features their excellent guest players – Digby Fairweather, Julian Mark Stringle, Chris Gower, John Beecham et al.

Tim has asked me along to film the band for Jazz&Jazz. He tells me “It’s quite a big sound due to the acoustics of Covent Garden Market roof and a lot of fun”.

Jazz&Jazz covered the march last year and featured my colleague, Laurence Cumming’s photos. Hopefully Laurence will join me this year for more photos. Visit  “A Weird and Wonderful Occasion!”

 Peter M Butler
Editor and Owner of Jazz&Jazz

(Photos courtesy of Laurence Cumming)

Please follow and like us:

Speak Your Mind