Saturday, 17 November 2018

Music is packing out pubs

THE Brakspear Jazz and Blues Festival has been hitting the right note in and around

THE Brakspear Jazz and Blues Festival has been hitting the right note in and around Henley — with all 10 pubs that hosted gigs over the weekend reporting busy, lively bars filled with customers enjoying the music.

Now in its third year, the festival started on Friday night with performances in five local pubs and continues until Sunday.

Embracing everything from swing to gypsy jazz, R&B to traditional Irish music, performances come from soloists, duets and bands and showcase new talent as well as established artists.

One of the first acts in this year’s festival was Swing 42, who played the Three Horseshoes in Reading Road on Friday night.

Licensee Nigel Rainbow said: “This gig restored my faith in jazz music! Swing 42 were a great band, playing well-known jazz numbers that our customers recognised and could sing or sway along to, and the atmosphere was fantastic. The pub was really busy and we raised £120 from a raffle for Sue Ryder.”

Also on Friday night, the Little Angel in Remenham hosted a performance by the Backbone Blues Band, a five-piece group who have toured the USA several times.

Licensee Doug Green said: “Backbone play great, accessible blues music and put on a terrific performance. The pub was packed to the gunnels and we had people on the dance floor all evening.”

The Little Angel is hosting a gig by jazz singer Louise Balkwill tonight (Friday) at 8.30pm, with free entry and a special two-course jazz dinner at £21.50.

All pubs hosting gigs will be selling Brakspear Top Notch — a 3.9 per cent ABV ale with chocolate and toffee notes, brewed to celebrate the jazz and blues festival.

Last year, music fans drank 80 barrels of it — making it one of Brakspear’s top-selling seasonal ales.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “We’re pleased to see how the festival has grown over the last two years to become a fixture in the Henley arts calendar.

“The gigs provide great, generally free, entertainment for our customers, and help our pubs by encouraging more visits during November, which can be a challenging trading period.”

Details of all Brakspear Jazz and Blues Festival events are listed on the dedicated website

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