The sun has been shining, and more reasons to be cheerful, May is almost here. Which means two things people – bank holidays! Stuck for something to do this coming long weekend? Why don’t you head down to the lovely Mumbles village, the pretty side of Swansea Bay, and get down to some jazz and blues by the seaside? The four-day Admiral Mostly Blues & Jazz Festival has got itself a name for entertaining the masses with local legends such as guitar maestro Brian Breeze, and the wonderful gypsy jazz of The Amigos to national and international show stoppers. Launched in 2005, the high-quality musical weekend kick starts the summer season at a variety of venues beside the bay, all in walking distance. This year’s bill, a mixture of free and ticketed events, looks sure to get you dancing happy. Let me talk you through…
Friday night the Festival Pavilion will be headlined by Maggie Bell of Stone The Crows, this time appearing as Maggie Bell and Dave Kelly & The BBQ. Catchy it may not be, but luckily the set is… You can expect ‘A review of soul, blues and classics, with some thumping rock’n'roll thrown in’ with support from a festival favourite, the Sean Webster Band.
Saturday is the Big Blues Day. The afternoon gig features the powerful Steve Arvey & Blues Move plus festival faves Derik and the mOOn Dogs. The evening will rock to top European combo and North American favourite the Ana Popovic Band. Their album ‘Still Making History’ reached No. 3 in the US Billboard after 19 weeks in the chart. Serbian-born Ana (on guitar and vocals) and her band have been touring the European and U.S. festival and club circuit to ever greater acclaim since 2001. On the bill with them, from the U.S.A., are Earl Thomas & The Kings of Rhythm – classic R&B, soul and contemporary blues from a master singer working with the late, great Ike Turner’s backing band. Yes that Ike Turner.
Those who like things a bit more jazzy, Sunday is YOUR day. Sundays is Big Jazz Day, you see, and features Claire Martin, the first lady of British jazz, acclaimed star of innumerable UK and international jazz festivals, winner of multiple awards and with 16 albums under her belt, returns to her favourite Welsh city with the Gareth Williams Band, supported by those great trad entertainers the Pete Allen Jazz Band. Heading the evening line-up will be Protect The Beat, five masters of jazz/funk, plus trombone supremo Mark Nightingale with his All Star British Jazz Quintet.
Don’t think you can relax yet, mind, Monday is the true party day featuring aforementioned local stars Brian Breeze (Brian Breeze Rhythm and Blues Band with Taff Williams) and The Amigos alongside The Hamsters, who will be closing the Pavilion in the night.
The first-ever official Festival Fringe will take place this year and comprises an eclectic programme of free events on the new Pavilion Side Stage and at venues around the village (Café Valance, the Park Inn and the Con Club). The Fringe programme highlights local talent including the winner of the Admiral in-house talent competition, Aggi Thomas; two popular performers from the Swansea M.A.D stable, Ian James and Kelly Angel; the Phoenix Choir singing lunchtime jazz numbers; guitarist Terry Clarke; Swansea’s own Ursine Princes; and the talented Tom Duggan Trio.
Swansea Bay Inter-Celtic Festival 2011
Enjoy this year’s festival! 2011 looks set for even bigger things, as the four day festival becomes part of a new and bigger 10 day Swansea Bay Inter-Celtic Festival featuring artists from Swansea, Lorient, Cork and further afield. You can start getting excited NOW, I know I am.