Organisers of Marsden Jazz Festival hailed it as the biggest and best yet – with more international musicians taking part than ever before.
Highlights of a packed weekend schedule included a parade through the streets – when steady rain meant anoraks and umbrellas were as much in evidence among the crowds as the colourful costumes of the participants.
The parade featured nine-piece rock-influenced brass band Young Pilgrims, who can now add the Colne Valley village to their list of venues visited, which have included the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Paris Jazz Festival.
Firm favourites with the spectators were The Incredible Plastic Street Band, a group of children from Mossley in Saddleworth, who compose and perform their own music on plastic trombones and trumpets.
The parade formed the centrepiece of the three-day festival – the 26th – which got under way on Friday.
Other highlights included Sonic Transportation, a musical performance inside the Standedge Tunnel by Norwegian cellist and composer Maja Bugge. Only 58 tickets were available for the unique performance in a venue with unique acoustics.
Barney Stevenson, the festival’s artistic director, said: “Those lucky enough to get tickets really enjoyed it. We’ve wanted to do something with the canal for some time and despite all the health and safety issues it was well worth it.”
Among other highlights, Marsden’s own jazz band, Marsden Swing, accompanied the festival duck race – performing as 1,000 plastic ducks made their way down the River Colne.
The full festival programme included more than 70 free gigs at various venues in the village. The event also included an artisan market in Marsden’s Victorian park.
Among those performing was the Meier-Budjana Group, an international supergroup co-led by Swiss-born guitarist Nicolas Meier and Indonesian rock guitar icon Dewa Budjana. There was also the premiere of a new work by jazz-house collaborators Alexander Bone and Toby Comeau.
Others taking part included Marsden Silver Band, Musica Colne Valley Big Band, Musica Mirfield Swing Band, Blackley Music Centre Stage Band, Holmfirth High School Jazz Band, Heckmondwike Grammar School Soul Band and Honley High School Jazz Groups.
Barney said: “Yet again, it is the biggest ever. We have taken on a new headline venue this year, the Parochial Hall, which has been working in partnership with the Mechanics Hall so we have been able to put on more high-profile gigs.”
The festival was supported by Arts Council England, Yorkshire Water, Charlesworth Estates Ltd and Kirklees Council.