Preview: Isle of Wight Jazz Weekend

A four-day festival at Newport, Isle of Wight this month features Derek Nash, Art Themen, Simon Allen, Alan Barnes and a tribute to Louis Armstrong, plus workshops and fringe events across the town

The third annual jazz festival at Newport, the county town of the Isle of Wight, will be held from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 July with a varied catalogue of jazz names including Derek Nash (pictured), Art Themen and the Simon Allen Quintet, plus workshops and free fringe events across the town.

The festival, run by local volunteers and musicians including Mike Whitehead, co-founder of the original Newport Jazz Club, is non-profit and aims to promote jazz on the Isle of Wight.

Opening night (17 July) features the Derek Nash acoustic quartet at the Apollo Theatre, with Dave Newton on piano, Geoff Gascoyne on bass and Sebastiaan de Krom on drums. Festival-goers can also catch free jazz gigs at Pizza Express and Newport Ale House on the same evening.

Friday’s (18 July) headliners are the Simon Allen Quintet at the Apollo Theatre followed by Dave Newton and Alan Barnes at Quay Arts, with a free jam session afterwards from 9pm to late. Saturday (19 July) is a day of tributes with Chris Walker’s Tribute to Trad, Ian and Alan Bateman’s Tribute to Louis Armstrong, and Craig Milverton et al’s Oscar Peterson Tribute Show. There’s also the Julian Stringle Dream Band, Tipitina with vocalist Debbie Jones, a sax workshop with Alan Barnes and Gary Plumley and a jam session at the Castle Inn from 10pm to late.

The festival closes on Sunday (20 July) with the Nikki Iles & Karen Sharp Quartet, the Mark Nightingale and Jim Hart Quintet, and the Enrico Tomasso, Alan Barnes and Art Themen Sextet. There’s also a piano workshop with Nikki Iles and free jazz events across the town.

Full-price tickets for single events are from £8 to £15 each, or visitors can take up a combined ferry/ticket offer with Isle of Wight ferry company Red Funnel: a day return foot passenger with a ticket for one show from £17.30 per person, or a two-night break for two people with accommodation, return ferry ticket and two tickets for one show from £116 per person. Visit for these offers or book directly through

Sally Evans-Darby

Photo by Brian O'Connor

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