sour note

Over the weekend I attended the Marlborough Jazz Festival.  This is my brief review, offered as feedback when asked by the organisers:

I was incredibly disappointed in the overall logistics and access to see the live acts.

Jazz, though surely a treat to the ears, is also something many of us like to watch – the musicians are talented and my friends and I were saddened that most venues could not afford us this view.  In fact, many venues were just too small to accommodate any real positive experience of the different shows.  We had to stand huddled shoulder to shoulder in crowds of people, and as we are courteous, also made allowances for the older audience members by giving up seats and making space for them when no one else would.

I understand the hot weather was a pleasant surprise, but much much more outside ‘public’ seating (not managed and checked by the private pubs and businesses) and waiting spaces should have been created for those hanging time in the streets awaiting ‘change over’ in the various venues. We found that on Saturday the strategy most had taken up, was to stay in one venue at one table and just wait for the acts to rotate through the afternoon. Which of course meant that new patrons were unable to get in to the venues, let alone have the privilege of a seat.

Outside catering and more street entertainment, as well as other aligned activity would have benefited those that ran between venues only to find them full and then had to retreat back to the street to wait for another music slot in a venue they could actually enter.  Cafe-style seating in the central area of the street would have been hugely appreciated – we couldn’t work out why this wasn’t provided; restricted parking is already in place on market days, as it was over the weekend.  For periods of time, we sat on the footpath or garden walls… which was fine for a lively group of able-bodieds, but a little investment in this going forward may be a good solution? If we wanted refreshments or just a bottle of water during our wait, we had to traipse into the local and very busy Waitrose, or queue for vast amounts of time in the crowded bars… just a small drinks dispensing machine may have been a good idea, given the weather?

Lastly, of the few bands we actually got to experience, I was mortified to hear rather karaoke versions of lazy muzak, rather than the talented-voiced, soulful singers, I had expected. A couple of the non-vocal bands were, however, awesome.

I think that the money I paid was not appropriately priced for the experience, at £34 for the day.  We would rather have paid a venue entrance price ensuring expectations were managed and that we didn’t pay for something we weren’t receiving.

Having arranged for a number of friends to travel from across the country to join me for a date that has been high on my ‘to do’ list for a long time… I wish I had saved my money and just stayed at a local pub with a live set on.


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