Cheltenham Jazz Festival, May 1-May 6, 2024

Cheltenham Jazz Festival announced its full programme for 2024 on February 13th - and as ever the bill is full of the best US and European jazz, bringing a wide variety of the music to a unique range of venues both on the Festival site itself and across the Regency town. From arenas to theatres to intimate bar spaces, Cheltenham is a place where exciting, fresh jazz can be experienced in multiple contexts.

Most especially, 2024 will see the return of the much-admired Parabola Arts Centre strand of Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which is dedicated to new and innovate jazz music from some of the finest purveyors of the music worldwide. Long-time programmer Tony Dudley-Evans, who retired last year, will return to commission new works, with Alexandria Carr - founder of Amplify Sounds and Contemporary Music Programmer at London's Southbank Centre - taking on programming duties for the strand.

Of particular interest to EJN members may be the Julien Durand’s DREAMSCAPES with Lucy-Anne Daniels, in which the five-piece band will create new sonic landscapes in productive collaboration with the fantastic young vocalist; the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Sienna and Hamburg Exchange sets, in which rising stars from three countries work together to perform a truly varied and energetic programme of jazz; and a performance from Dave Douglas and Trish Clowes in which trumpet and reed will combine to present brand new material in homage to Wayne Shorter.

Innovative jazz can also be found elsewhere on the Festival’s bill, far beyond the confines of Parabola. Appearing in the Jazz Arena are Donald Byrd’s former student Theo Croker, whose love of modal jazz and hip-hop will make for a vital show, and the urgent and the inventive alto sax of Lakecia Benjamin, who’ll be delivering tracks from her new album, Phoenix. At Dunkertons Tap Room, meanwhile, Giacomo Smith will be performing a New Orleans-infused set with the Big Easy native Joplin Parnell. Range and quality are the watchwords at Cheltenham.

Access To Music Conference, May 3, 2024

Cheltenham Jazz Festival will this year host the first Access To Music Conference, which will see industry figures gather together to explore the challenges faced by disabled people participating in music and live events.

The one-day conference is intended to help discover how the sector can become ever more welcoming to, and appropriate for, performers and audiences with additional access needs. Panels of experts will discuss topics including the experiences of artists and audiences, developments in technology and education, and latest insights into research and policy.

There will also be live performances and the opportunity for attendees to experience the BEAT BLOCKS haptic dancefloor, which provides sensory feedback to audience members at live music performances. Adrian Bossey, Head of Business & Experience Design at Falmouth University and trustee of Attitude is Everything, will deliver the keynote address.

Delegates will be able to attend both in-person on the Festival site and online via a live stream. The only comparable event anywhere else in the world is the prestigious Berklee College of Music’s ABLE Assembly in Boston, USA.

The Access To Music Conference will take place on Friday, 3rd May in Montpellier Gardens, which will also that day see performances from Brand New Heavies, Bettye LaVette, and Nubiyan Twist & Orchestra Baobab as part of the Jazz Festival’s 2024 programme.

Tickets are available to purchase via, for both in-person and online attendance.