The Festival is promoted by a group of fans and is non-profit making. It started in 1990 with a small marquee and one smaller indoor venue with about 300 tickets, though we also had Humph Lyttelton’s band in the Mowlem theatre.
We expanded slowly, since, for the first thirteen years, we were an informal association of friends responsible for the whole cost of the festival.
SWANAGE JAZZ FESTIVAL
In 2003 we became a company limited by guarantee, which gives us some legal protection in the event of a total washout.
We came fairly close to that in 2012, when after months of rain, we had to abandon two of our tented venues at very short notice.
We asked fans to help us save the Festival and they raised nearly £5000 to cover much of the extra costs and losses we incurred.
We have some small amounts of commercial sponsorship – Enterprise Inns and some local small businesses – and we are grateful to the PRS for Music Foundation for their support.
But we have survived largely because of the support of fans: ticket sales and bar sales cover over 90 percent of our costs, of which musicians’ fees and expenses make up 70 per cent.
Our longstanding President, Roger Horton, decided it was the time he handed the baton to someone younger.
We will always be grateful to Roger for support in the beginning that made it possible for us to organise the Festival, and for his advice and support over the years since.
The Festival Board decided to ask Alan Barnes to take on the role. Alan has been involved with the Festival since the first year, when he was the youngest member of Humph’s band, and also played a memorable set on Sunday morning with Stan Greig. Dave Brennan is our Vice-president.
Swanage is a small seaside town at the beginning of the Jurassic Coast (Britain’s only natural World Heritage Site). It has a safe clean beach, with views of the Isle of Wight from several of the festival venues.
Though there is adequate accommodation in the town and surrounding villages (from picturesque camp sites to three-star hotels), early booking is advised if you want to be near the centre of town.
The Tourist Office will provide details of accommodation and the staff are happy to help out with problems (though they don’t do the actual booking).
There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars to suit most tastes.
For accommodation and general enquiries about Swanage contact: Swanage Tourist Information Centre, Shore Road, Swanage, Dorset BH19 1LB, Tel. 01929 422885.