October 21, 2021

Marsden Jazz Festival

In the midst of fancy shirts, sweaters and flat caps music flows through the winding roads of houses, coffee shops and pubs for the 23rd year in a row. The Marsden ‘not so’-Jazz Festival has been around since 1992, and since then it has grown in both size and stature. Over five thousand visitors paraded the streets for this year’s festival, and I’m pretty sure half of them were queuing down the street trying to get into the local Fish and Chips shop, there was no hope of a good old British lunch if you arrived after 12pm!
There was an incredible assortment of marquees with the first being a Wine and Cheese stall, the amount of cheese was ridiculous, however it was cheap enough to buy a whole block. Next along, with a rather fancy sign with glittery writing saying “Fabulous Dog Treats” was, as the sign suggested, selling all sort of treats for furry friends. Which must have made a fortune as everywhere you turned you could see a family with their dogs, from Pugs to German Shepherds. You could’ve probably mistaken the Festival for Crufts.
From the get-go, it seemed to be a day for family gatherings. In the middle of a group of houses on a slight hill was what looked to be middle-aged men and women dressed as lady birds in a brass band, with a group of school children with instruments which were made from umbrellas. BLAST Furness are a carnival street band from Ulverston, they played a variety of songs on their strange instruments ranging from toe-tapping Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book to Happy by Pharrell – which managed to get a few of the so called ‘oldies’, proving they still have some moves.

The large marquee over the bridge had members of Marsden’s Ukulele Club, Mucipups, and school children from Thornhill Primary for a Ukulele ‘trash off’. Starting off with a recognisable ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ which led to a little old lady crying, as she watched her granddaughter playing the Ukulele. Impressively they went on to play ‘Joleen’. This brought smiles to everyone around the tent, whether that was due to the Ukuleles or the slightly funny leader shouting “If you don’t make it across the front before we start playing, you’ve got to stand and dance!” as people walked in front of them. Although, no one did stop and dance which was a shame.
On the bandstand in the park, Mirfield Music Centre Big Band, a group of high school kids brilliantly playing a wide range of classics from swing and blues to funk on their trumpets, violins and saxophones. They played the likes of Madness, Incredibles theme tunes and also a brought a young girl on stage to sing Mercy by Duffy. They easily got the crowd going, and always ended each song with a massive round of applause from the audience!
After a long weird and wonderful day, we managed to catch an actual Jazz band. The Jazz Turnips were playing in what looked to be the upstairs of an old band, with only family members and friends watching them. The six piece jazz-combo, who didn’t even look old enough to be out of school, played a few relaxing pieces but it would’ve been better if they could’ve played outside in the sunshine, which hasn’t seemed to bless the Festival with is appearance for a few years.