Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2023 marked the end of another successful year of jazz celebration, featuring contemporary stars such as Gregory Porter and Laura Mvula, as well as emerging talent. Artistic Guest Curator Gregory Porter concluded his year in the role with a special broadcast for the BBC, joined by Van Morrison, Lizz Wright, and Giacomo Smith.
The festival showcased a diverse range of jazz-influenced music, drawing in jazz virtuosos, powerful vocalists, and crossover artists, including Espen Eriksen, Laura Jurd, Julian Lage, Mica Millar, Sarah Brown, Tony Hadley, Will Young, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and Rufus Wainwright. The festival also presented upcoming stars like Tamzene and Immy, showcasing jazz students from Birmingham Conservatoire, and previous showcase alumnus Georgia Cécile in a sold-out show.
The festival’s role in promoting jazz as a vibrant, diverse, and accessible musical genre was evident in the inclusion of hundreds of people from marginalised communities, including refugees, through local charity partnerships. Accessibility was a key focus, with sector-leading measures implemented both front of house and backstage.
The festival also embraced sustainability by switching to HVO fuel and reducing CO2 emissions from 22.07 tonnes to 0.28 tonnes. The festival town itself was alive with free music in over 50 pubs, bars, and clubs, and Jerwood Jazz Encounters featured Andrew Woodhead’s innovative exploration of bellringing in Montpellier Woods.
Ali Mawle, co-CEO of Cheltenham Festivals, thanked the artists, audience members, supporters, sponsors, partners, and volunteers, and noted that the festival’s success lies in its ability to bring joy and inspiration to the widest possible audience. The festival looks forward to another successful year in the future.