Jazz fans thrilled as festival returns

It’s been hailed as the jazz festival in the most beautiful setting in the UK.

Organisers have revealed that Summer Night Jazz is returning to Plas Newydd on Anglesey on
July 7 and 8.

The home of Lord and Lady Anglesey, now a National Trust property, looks across the Menai Strait towards the breath-taking view of Snowdonia.

Topping the bill this year is jazz sensation Anthony Strong who will be following in the footsteps of all-time greats like Humphrey Lyttleton and Acker Bilk.

Strong’s growing fan base includes Rod Steward, Michael Parkinson and Jamie Cullum who are all raving about the London-based singer who’s been compared to Michael Bublé.

A crowd-pleasing local Brazilian Latin band called Banda Bacana will be generating a carnival atmosphere and  there will also be a New Orleans-style jazz ensemble made up of members of Beaumaris Brass Band.

After an absence of seven years, the festival was revived last year and was a big hit with the thousands of jazz lovers who flocked there.

The comeback was the brainchild of Gwyn Evans, a peripatetic music teacher with Gwasanaeth Ysgolion William Mathias  (William Mathias Schools’ Service) whose many other hats include that of Musical Director of the multi-award winning Beaumaris Brass Band.

Gwyn, who also plays the trumpet and sings, will also be performing with his own band, Dr Jazz.

The event is again being sponsored this year by Gaerwen-based home improvements specialists, Peninsula.

National Trust spokesman Alun Pritchard said: “With the massive Jubilee Strait Party here on  June 5 as well as this stunning jazz festival , Plas Newydd is clearly becoming the top venue for great outdoor events this Summer.”

Gwyn said: “Many years ago the National Trust staged a jazz event here for more than 10 years and all the jazz greats like Humphrey Lyttleton, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk came here and performed.

“The band I play for, Dr Jazz, supported all those bands but unfortunately the event petered out and there was a gap of seven or eight years.

“There were so many people who asked about reviving the festival that  it came back by popular demand.

“I decided to take the plunge and go for it – and last year’s event was a huge success.

“I can’t think that there is a setting to compare with this in the whole of the UK.

“There will be a lovely atmosphere and people can bring their picnic hampers and champagne while they’re chilling out to some cool jazz.

“There’s a real family feel to the event, it’s not about hard core jazz – and hopefully we’ve got the chemistry right again this year.

“What we’re trying to do is to celebrate the island of Anglesey, the island is full of talented youngsters.

“As well as the jazz night on the Saturday night, on the Sunday we have a celebration of youth so all the youth groups, bands, choirs and orchestras will be taking part.

“We will also be having a local farmers’ market to sell local produce and we will also have local beers and local ice creams.

“To have a local firm like Peninsula sponsoring us is brilliant. They are so supportive to the arts on the island, especially music. I can’t thank them enough really.

Peninsula Managing Director Ken Grayson explained: “We  saw Summer Night Jazz as an opportunity to give something back to our local community.

“It’s a good way of getting our name associated with a fantastic cultural event that’s beneficial to the area. It just seemed a win-win for everybody.

“The setting is perfect – with sea, mountains and a beautiful stately home with a natural amphitheatre overlooking the Menai Strait.

“Last year’s inaugural event was brilliant and we’re hoping that everybody who came will return and bring more people with them.

“This year we’re getting more involved in organising the event – as well as our financial input we’re giving our time and enthusiasm.”

For more information about Summer Night Jazz and how to book tickets go to www.plasnewyddjazz.com

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