In a word: FANBLOODYTASTIC! (See below for a lot more words and pictures on how good it was.)
As you will know, I have not ‘properly’ attended the jazz festival in the 10 years that I’ve lived in Cheltenham, and now I know I’ve been missing out.
The jazz festival started for me on Friday 1st May (officially it began on Wednesday 30th April) and excited doesn’t begin to express how I was feeling, as I was attending the vintage glamour night at Cowley Manor! Well a mixture of excitement and panic because I had no idea what to wear.
There were acrobats from Gifford Circus, burlesque dancers, a beautiful performance from Laura Mvula, an arrangement of show-ground style food and much more.
As you walked in (up the red carpet, may I add) you were greeted by lovely Jazz Festival staff and then promptly offered a glass of champagne which is ideal but I was slightly distracted by Gifford Circus performing this act:
Whilst we were picking up our jaws up off the ground, the lights dimmed, the music became louder and to our delight we realised we were about to see a burlesque show and it was brilliant.
After this fabulous performance we were told that Laura Mvula was about to perform, so we made our way to the designated room as fast as our heels would let us! Let me just say that Laura Mvula is even more beautiful in real life and her performance was mesmerising.
The incredible Laura Mvula
One of the highlights of my night (ok, THE highlight) was when we were stood talking in one of the beautiful walkways of Cowley Manor and Laura Mvula actually came up to me and told me she loved my dress *SCREAM*. My friend commented after she walked away that in all the years she’s known me, she has never seen me speechless! Thanks Laura Mvula for making my night.
The next ‘biggie’ of the night was seeing Jamie Cullum. Now, I’m a big Jamie fan, I think he’s fantastic, he regularly features in my Spotify playlists so I knew I needed to take a big swig of champagne and get my picture taken with him. It might be good to point out that he’s rather on the short side and I’m 5’10 (and add a couple of inches for the heels) but Sophie Dahl is 6ft so it’s all good.
Hanging out with Jamie Cullum!
I spotted Cerys Matthews looking absolutely stunning and just walking about, then I realised that she was actually DJ’ing. Que everybody getting their groove on in their finery – splendid.
All in all an absolutely brilliant night and perfect start my jazz festival experience.
Saturday then arrives, the sun is shining and I walk to my lovely hairdressers (Stuart Holmes really are fab) to let them work their magic. It was then on to watch Nick Mulvey in the afternoon. Before the festival I was ashamed to admit that I’ve not really spent much time listening to him music but his voice really was incredible! Being the lucky so-and-so I am, I had VIP access so once he had finished performing we made our way over to the hospitality lounge where Westons Cider had a stage and Nick Mulvey performed again in a much more intimate setting. He really is a great musician, with a beautiful voice and very handsome!
I was then enjoying a vintage pear cider (Westons obviously) outside in the lovely sun when I turned around to see this. I could barely contain my excitement! Just Nick Mulvey and Jamie Cullum having a nice little chat!
Jamie Cullum and Nick Mulvey having a chinwag!
After dragging myself away, I then went home to get ready for a night at Crazy Eights (the cocktail bar below 131 The Prom) listening to Jamie Cullum DJ. This event sold out ridiculously fast so I was really happy my friends and I managed to get tickets. It was a great night, Jamie Cullum has a lot of talents!
That brings us to Sunday and this is a day that I had been looking forward to for quite a while as one of my lovely uni friends, Jake Issac was performing. Now you’re going to think I’m biased (and I am) but he is SO TALENTED! I listen to his music all the time (my favourite song being Everytime We Kissed, I’m a romantic what can I say) and he was even better live. Luckily, I booked the tickets straight away so we were very close to the front and I was constantly waving and trying to get his attention – probably not what he needs whilst performing in front of a packed crowd!
Afterwards, we had the pleasure of him performing in the VIP lounge and I managed to have a quick chat with him afterwards, it was just like the good old days :)
Me and my old mucker, Jake Issac
I need to take a moment to mention the staff. They were all absolutely brilliant at every event I was at, they couldn’t have been more helpful or more friendly and even when I was late (cough cough) to a performance they were just faultless.
Then low and behold it’s Monday and the last day of the festival – insert sad face here. We get ready as we have tickets to see London Afrobeat Collective who seemed really lively and energetic which I think is the perfect way to end the festival – and man alive, were they!
Their performance was great as well as entertaining and at one point, I don’t think anyone was sat down! I have to mention the saxophonists – they truly blew me away and were immensely talented.
We take a seat in the hospitality lounge for the last time as we watch the London Afrobeat Collective perform, complete with a pear cider in hand, some lovely food from the wide variety there was on choice in the gardens and let the sun warm our shoulders as we savoured the last few moments of what had been a truly amazing event.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival, you’ve been amazing. Until next year.