Rents Are Due Thursday, June 18th, and London’s Covent Garden Marching Band Will Be Out In Force!


… head the Big Parade

The Covent Garden Marching Band heads the 2014 Big Parade

Just what could that be all about?

Here is a preview but best you spend a pleasant afternoon in Covent Garden, London, on Thursday, 18th 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 Occassion? Weird and Wonderful Rent Collecting!
“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) 

This will be the 18th year The Covent Garden Jazz Marching Band has taken part in the Ceremony and it has to be witnessed to be believed! A “somewhat unique one off group”, the band, with The Covent Garden Town Cryer at its head, has more than doubled in numbers over the years.

Tim Wacher

Tim Wacher

Julian Mark Stringle

Julian Mark Stringle

This year the band will include:

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


“A Grand Flourish”
Under Tim Wacher’s direction the marching band will set off, in true New Orleans style, at 4.30pm from 13, New Row, Covent Garden WC2 (the offices of the Covent Garden Area Trust – opposite Waterstones) and amble down King Street and around the Piazza – headed by Town Cryer Alan Myatt, and stopping for the collection of rents along the way. The parade pauses for essential refreshments outside the Punch and Judy Pub and culminates in a grand flourish with speeches in the Market’s North Hall.

“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. Last year Tim Wacher assured  me “It’s quite a big sound due to the acoustics of Covent Garden Market roof and a lot of fun” and now I can vouch for that!

Jazz&Jazz covered the march last year and featured my colleague, Laurence Cumming’s photos. Hopefully Laurence will join my wife and I this year for more photos.

For a taster, just one of my YouTubes of last year’s March:
“Hello Covent Garden, Give Me Doctor Jazz”

Also visit “A Weird and Wonderful Occasion in Covent Garden”

 Peter M Butler
Editor and Owner of Jazz&Jazz
Photos by Laurence Cumming © Jazz&Jazz
YouTube © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz

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