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Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Highlight of the Year – the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (March 3-5)

(Preview by Russell)
The first long weekend in March marks the return of the annual Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (Mar 3-5). For many years staged in Sunderland, this 2017 edition will take place in nearby Chester le Street. More than thirty big bands will converge on Park View Community Centre located just off Front Street. Several bands travel considerable distances to compete for the National Glass Centre commissioned trophies in an event which has attained national prominence in the world of big band jazz. Schools, youth and senior bands engage in fierce but friendly rivalry making the GNBBJF one of the highlights of the year.
 
A Friday evening double bill features the Hartlepool-based Musicians Unlimited Big Band (directed by Mick Donnelly) and a hand-picked Festival Big Band starting at 8:00pm. On Saturday, and again on Sunday, the competitive action begins at 11:00am. Saturday is devoted to senior bands – some travelling hundreds of miles to take part – vying to win the Open Section. An evening concert (7:00) will feature the prize winners. Sunday’s programme features countless bands competing in School and Youth sections (some young musicians will similarly make long distance journeys to take part).    
Food and drink will be available. £10.00 admission permits access to all three days of this, the 14th  annual Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. Under 16s gain entry for a fiver.     

Buses and trains to and from Chester le Street are many and frequent throughout the weekend and there is on site parking. The venue’s address (with post code for the Sat Nav user) is:

Park View Community Centre
Church Chare
Chester le Street
County Durham

DH3 3PZ  

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