Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Festival 2023 (Blog)

Simple question, how do you measure success? Well, if you’d been out in Clitheroe over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend you may have quite simply said “the Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Festival 2023!” – four days of music in over a dozen venues around Clitheroe town and village pubs nearby. Boom! 

Another question – how do you define Jazz? A difficult one but a simple reply might be “a form of musical improvisation” and that works because the festival-goers this weekend enjoyed so many different styles of jazz in the pubs, bars and the Halls of Clitheroe. Pick your genre of music, add a pinch of talented jazz musician and it moves to the next level. 

If you saw crowds on the pavement outside bars like Jungle or the Beer Shack or in the Market Square you were witnessing the popularity of live music and jazz in one of its many forms. 

Local singers and bands rubbed shoulders with nationally acclaimed groups to fill schedules and entertain the masses congregating in Clitheroe for the weekend. The hard work of the unpaid festival organisers and volunteers was well rewarded. 

We all have favourites and mine were the gentle jazz of up-and-coming Leeds collective Jasmine Myra at The Grand, one of many bands formed through Music Colleges these days; regular delta blues men Junkhouse Dog Duo hit the spot too at Jungle; Duckworth and Duprez at the Beer Shack and Corto playing Latin jazz on classical guitars, mesmerising talent; and the energy of The Grand’s sell-out finalé by Steely Dan tribute band Nearly Dan was a perfect way to conclude my weekend – even then I missed out on the genuine finalé The Swing City Big Band at St Mary’s on Monday but that’s classic festival, you just can’t do everything!

Surprise success? the Festival Director Miles Peachey singing Mrs Jones with Paul Rigby’s RV Jazz Big Band, such passion and talent and we have it in spades in the Ribble Valley! 

Favourite moments? Standing in the spring sunshine in Market Square watching hard- working local ukelele players and talented young singers and catching up with Festival friends all washed down with a local beer. What’s not to like?! 

Roll on RVJB Festival 2024!