Marsden Jazz Festival is a massive part of village life, a major event in Yorkshire’s cultural calendar and one of the UK’s most diverse and longest running jazz festivals. Over 28 editions we've presented around 3,000 hours of live music (most of it for free) to over 140,000 attendees - it’s no wonder that you missed us in 2020 and can't wait for MJF to return.
But the waiting may soon be over.
We have a plan to bring Marsden Jazz Festival back - and you can help make it happen by supporting our Crowdfunder today.
The pandemic completely stopped Marsden Jazz Festival in its tracks - and very nearly saw us off for good. With heavy hearts we were forced to cancel the 29th edition of the festival, the first time since 1992 that the streets of Marsden weren’t lit up with music, dancing, laughter and friendship.
And you told us that you were just as sad and as worried as us about the future of the festival.
But in true Yorkshire-fashion, we tightened our belts, stripped our team down to the bare essentials and worked hard at keeping MJF alive in your hearts and minds with our digital programme. Thanks to Arts Council England/DCMS we lived to fight another day and can now realistically look forward to bringing Marsden Jazz Festival back this autumn - but we need your help to do it.
Earlier this year, just as it felt the world was opening up again, we committed to a new ‘no matter what’ model for the festival. We didn’t want to leave you without your beloved MJF for another year - and feared that if we didn’t do it in 2021 we might never recover.
So, what does our ‘no matter what’ Marsden Jazz Festival look like, we hear you ask?
When we asked what we could do to improve the Festival you said:
“Nothing! I love it and can't wait for it to be able to happen again!”
We took on board your brilliant ideas and requests and made our plan. It looks like this:
- We’re making the festival simpler on the principle that ‘simpler is safer’
- Most live music will move outdoors, including a new Peel Street Main Stage
- Any indoor gigs will be in large spaces to allow for social distancing
- Loads of Covid-19 safety measures, including sanitation, limits on audience numbers and social distancing
- Making MJF even more accessible for jazz-lovers with disabilities
- An even more diverse programme, working in partnership with Black Lives in Music and Jazz re:freshed
We’re balancing our excitement and positivity with caution, and know that there’s still some uncertainty.
Covid-19 restrictions aren’t being removed as quickly as we’d expected and you’d be surprised that a simpler, safer MJF costs a lot more than the standard festival. We’ve asked Arts Council England to support our comeback but we won’t know their decision until early August.
One thing we do know is this: that we can’t do it without YOU, our loyal fans and audiences.
We know times have been tough for everyone during Covid-19, so we didn’t ask anything of you in 2020 other than to sit back and enjoy our online broadcasts. But now it’s time for you to play your part to help fill the streets of Marsden with the excitement, buzz and sense of togetherness that only our festival can conjure up.
Marsden Jazz Festival isn’t just any old jazz festival. It’s YOUR jazz festival - run by the people for the people.
So supporting our Crowdfunding is the perfect way for you to have your say on if - and how - MJF returns this autumn.
We need to raise a minimum of £10,000 to supplement our Arts Council England grant (fingers crossed please everyone!) and deliver the safe and spectacular Festival we’re all dreaming of. The more we can raise, the better the Festival will be.
Every gift, whether £5 or £5,000, will help prevent another MJF-free year.
Imagine how great you'll feel to know you were part of the team that made this happen. But don't take our word for it; here's MJF legend Dennis Rollins MBE to explain why he's helping bring the Festival back in 2021:
While supporting MJF will definitely make you as happy as Dennis, that's not all we can offer. To show how much we appreciate your support we’ve created some fantastic perks for you. Take a look at our menu of rewards (on the right or below if you're on your phone).
As a small arts charity, we don't have tons of cash for lavish rewards. Instead, we're offering some exclusive, limited edition merchandise and unique experiences so you can get up close and feel really involved in this October’s Festival.
It’s quite simple. Your money will be instrumental in bringing Marsden Jazz Festival back with a bang this October. As long as we are successful in securing Arts Council England funding, all gifts through our Crowdfunder will help cover the costs of our re-imagined post-COVID-19 Festival.
All money pledged will go directly towards:
- Bringing the very best world-class musical talent to Marsden
- New events and activities
- Creating our new outdoor Main Stage
- Providing opportunities for new, diverse, under-represented and young artists
If for any reason, we can’t deliver the festival in the way we’re planning we’ll use your generously donated money to make sure we keep our promise to bring great live jazz back to Marsden in 2021 in some form.
Marsden Jazz Festival is a community-focused event with a global outlook that’s been running since 1992. We exist to provide an inclusive and accessible platform for world-class jazz performance & participation. We play a vital role in the cultural life of the South Pennines and the economic regeneration of a former textile-industry village.
Our festival pushes the boundaries, featuring traditional bands alongside cutting-edge sounds, encouraging people to expand their knowledge & appreciation of jazz. If you've been, you'll know there's nowhere quite like Marsden Jazz Festival. As one of you said:
"The most amazing, innovative, inclusive music festival set in the stunning Pennine landscape" - audience member, 2018
We programme artists from diverse backgrounds, including youth groups, amateurs, emerging talent & world-renowned artists. At MJF there's something for everyone: from families to the 'jazz-curious' and connoisseurs.
By working together — combining our creativity, passion and energy with your love of live music, belief in the power of community and financial support — we know we can do this. And that we’ll be out, dancing in the streets of Marsden together once more this October.
Thank you SO much for your support.
Best wishes to you , stay safe and see you in October!
Barney (Artistic Director), Charlotte (Marketing Manager), Rich (Chair) and all the MJF Team