The Watford Jazz Junction was founded in 2020 with a focus on inclusion, improving mental wellbeing for all through sharing in live music, and presenting some of the greatest jazz musicians working in the UK.
The first 2 editions of our festival took a bit of a knock from Covid but we still managed to crowd-fund and deliver a fabulous online performance from Emma Smith during lock-down and launch a 54-part podcast that soon became one of the UK’s most popular jazz-casts.
Our inaugural festival took place 19-22 May 2022 and featured more than 25 shows across venues in Watford. Our musicians included a stand-out gala show from Shri Sriram with Dennis Rollins, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra with Tim Garland, and a very special set from Watford-based pianist Ilario Ferrari. Other stars across the 4 days included Tomorrow’s Warriors pianist Sultan Stevenson with Mark Kavuma on trumpet, Pete and Immy Churchill performing alongside Nikki Iles, free-jazz outfit Archipelago, Jelly Cleaver, the Emma Smith Quartet, and a memorable closing performance from Jo Harrop and the John Etheridge Trio.
To date we have been kindly supported by the Arts Council England, the National Lottery Community Fund, the Watford Cultural Support and Development Fund, Watford Council, Watford Business Improvement District, Magic Little Grants, and councillors Tim Williams and Stephen Giles Medhurst. We have also received commercial support from Classic Motor Events and Future Office Interiors.
We couldn’t do what do without the tireless work of our Advisory Committee, our fabulous venue partners including the Watford Palace Theatre, Pump House Theatre and Arts Centre, and 5 pubs in Oxhey Village (The Railway Arms, The Villiers Arms, The Load of Hay, The Royal Oak, and The Rifle Volunteer – our first venue partner), and of course our amazing volunteers, sound engineers, production crew, and every one of our audience members.
In addition to the May festival, we also continue to put on shows across the year looking to showcase the most appealing and exciting jazz, soul and blues music around.