Celebrating the conclusion of the Impact of Festivals project

The Impact of Festivals project ran from November 2015 to November 2016 at the University of East Anglia and was led by Professor George McKay with Dr Emma Webster, in collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival; the project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities programme.

The book of the history of the London Jazz Festival is still in progress and we expect to launch the book at the 2017 EFG London Jazz Festival, so watch this space!

Outputs from the project include:- Continue reading Celebrating the conclusion of the Impact of Festivals project

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Jazz and the City at the EFG London Jazz Festival, Sat 12 November 2016

To celebrate the conclusion of the Impact of Festivals project, the EFG London Jazz Festival 2016 is hosting a mini-conference on Jazz and the City at the Southbank Centre’s Level 5 Function Room on Saturday 12th November between 2.00 and 5.00pm.

2.00-2.30pm Jazz and the City: Researcher-in-residence Dr Emma Webster, and Professor George McKay of the University of East Anglia, explore today’s programme and their current AHRC project, The Impact of Festivals.

2.45-3.45pm Festivals and the City:  A chaired panel exploring how festivals are shaped by cities and places and how festivals in turn shape them. With vibraphonist Orphy Robinson, Mikey Martins (Freedom Festival, Hull) and Steve Rubie (606 Club).

4.00-5.00pm Musicians in the City: A chaired panel on life as a musician in the city, featuring saxophonist Andy Sheppard, pianist Sarah Tandy (Tomorrow’s Warriors) and Charles Umney (Leeds Business School).

This is a free event – for more information, please email emma.webster@uea.ac.uk

Do join us for what will be a fascinating afternoon thinking about jazz cities, jazz musicians, and jazz festivals.

 

The impact of jazz festivals, article and short film

With my co-author, postdoctoral research assistant Dr Emma Webster, I’m pleased to draw attention to our newest project output This is a peer-reviewed article for Jazz Research Journal focussed on the impact of jazz festivals in particular. (The wider project embraces pop, folk and classical music festivals too, of course.) The article’s abstract is below. You can access freely a copy of the article here. It appears in Jazz Research Journal 9(2), pp.169-193. Below also is a short film in which I talk a little about the jazz festivals research of the project.

Festivals are an essential part of the jazz world, forming regularly occurring pivot points around which jazz musicians, audiences and organizers plan their lives. Funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, the purpose of this report is to chart and critically examine available writing about the impact of jazz festivals, drawing on both academic and ‘grey’/cultural policy literature in the field. The review presents research findings under the headings of economic impact; socio-political impact; temporal impact and intensification and transformation of experience; creative impact—music and musicians; discovery and audience development; place-making; the mediation of jazz festivals; and environmental impact. It concludes with a set of recommendations for future research, which identifies gaps in the field. To accompany the article, a 100-entry 40,000-word annotated bibliography has also been produced, which is freely accessible online.

Revitalising the (jazz) music festival, at 12 Points, San Sebastian

12 points festival panel

In panel conversations between musicians, researchers, journalists, organisers and promoters we found and heard about a range of approaches to trying to revitalise the (jazz) festival experience and the jazz scene at the 12 Points Festival discussion days on ‘Jazz Futures’ here in San Sebastian. This was felt important for a number of reasons, including that in some countries the big all-star jazz festival is fading, its audience diminishing, while elsewhere, perhaps ironically, perhaps in a connected way, there is a surfeit of festivalisation of culture, in that festival in its ubiquity has become everyday, even banal, and no longer the intense, heightened and exceptional. Here are some of those diversifying approaches.

  • Jazz festival or event as immersive experience—music, yes, but also costume, design, actors and dancers, food, theatre and masque, historical reconstruction of scenes from jazz past with a promenading audience
  • Jazz apps, and audience interactivity via mobile digital technology
  • Electronic deconstruction of the live music event in the very next concert that follows, so the audience hears fresh the new music it just heard, where sometimes the remix is better than the original (though, yes, “sometimes it’s shittier”)
  • An emphasis on creative curation rather than simply programming or organisation and presentation of a series of concerts
  • Cross-cultural and cross-arts dialogue. Whether improvised arts (music, dance, animation) working with each other in the moment, or a festival of improvised music that must include literature and vice versa
  • 12 Points logoA continuing struggle with the Jazz word: a European jazz festival director says I don’t want to use the term “jazz festival”, it’s off-putting for a new audience, others saying we lose something worth cherishing and celebrating if we reject it (i.e. a century of live and recorded music)
  • The on-going core relevance of jazz and music education: new musicians, new networks and events, new energy, andnew audiences
  • The regular inclusion of academic research in the festival programme, an openness to it in the scene more generally.

‘Festivalling’: Are jazz festivals utopian? – Emma Webster

I have just returned from the Rhythm Changes ‘Jazz Utopia’ conference in Birmingham (14-17 April 2016). The majority of the one hundred plus speakers really engaged with the theme of the conference and grappled with jazz’s potential for exploring and achieving utopia from a wide variety of perspectives: historical, musicological, sociological and interdisciplinary.

My paper gave a brief overview of a literature review currently in review with the Jazz Research Journal about the impact of jazz festivals; based on the final part of my paper, this blog post will consider briefly the ways in which jazz festivals have been or could be considered to be utopian. Continue reading ‘Festivalling’: Are jazz festivals utopian? – Emma Webster

PROGRAMME ANNOUNCED: Researching (Jazz) Festivals: A Day of Ideas and Discussion Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Friday 29 April 2016, 10:00am to 5.30pm

Take Five Family Tent, Montpellier Gardens

FREE attendance (must register via Cheltenham Jazz Festival box office)

 

The Impact of Festivals is a 12-month project funded under the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities Programme, working with research partner organization, the EFG London Jazz Festival. The Principal Investigator is Professor George McKay, AHRC Leadership Fellow for the Connected Communities Programme, and Professor of Media Studies at the University of East Anglia. The Research Associate is Dr Emma Webster, co-founder and Director of Live Music Exchange. Continue reading PROGRAMME ANNOUNCED: Researching (Jazz) Festivals: A Day of Ideas and Discussion Cheltenham Jazz Festival

FREE EVENT: Researching (Jazz) Festivals: A Day of Ideas and Discussion – Cheltenham Jazz Festival – Friday 29 April 2016

Researching (Jazz) Festivals: A Day of Ideas and Discussion
Cheltenham Jazz Festival
Friday 29 April 2016, 10-5pm

FREE attendance (must register via Cheltenham Jazz Festival box office)

The Impact of Festivals is a 12-month project funded under the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities Programme, working with research partner organization, the EFG London Jazz Festival. The Principal Investigator is Professor George McKay, AHRC Leadership Fellow for the Connected Communities Programme, and Professor of Media Studies at the University of East Anglia. The Research Associate is Dr Emma Webster, co-founder and Director of Live Music Exchange. Continue reading FREE EVENT: Researching (Jazz) Festivals: A Day of Ideas and Discussion – Cheltenham Jazz Festival – Friday 29 April 2016

The impact of jazz festivals – top three articles (so far) – Emma Webster

Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, University of Oford
Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford © Sabrina Chap 2013

One of the pleasures of this project has been that it has enabled me to read (and sometimes re-read) literature about festivals – and spending a day in the Radcliffe Camera at the Bodleian Library in Oxford whilst doing so is not such a shabby way to spend a day. Continue reading The impact of jazz festivals – top three articles (so far) – Emma Webster