EJN Staff Exchange Programme

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Previous participant: Yaren Avci

From: XJazz (Germany)
To: Cheltenham Jazz Festival (UK)
29 April - 05 May 2018

Within Europe Jazz Network staff exchange programme I had an opportunity to spend 10 days in Cheltenham, United Kingdom and had chance to work with at an amazing festival which is called Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

Cheltenham is a beautiful town in Gloucestershire, England. They’re having four different festivals in a year (Cheltenham Music Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival and Cheltenham Science Festival). The main reason why I had chosen this festival is I’d like to see how they’re doing such big festivals in a town for long years. The jazz festival has been done for 22 years (since 1996). The festival hosted big names such as Van Morrison, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, Melody Gardot, Tony Allen, Beth Hart etc.

The events of Cheltenham Jazz Festival mainly take place in a tented village in Montpellier Gardens, including three different stages (Big Top, the Jazz Arena and a Free Stage) surrounded by food traders, secret gardens and festival bars. Dinner concerts and some other performances are also played in other venues around town, such as the Daffodil Restaurant, the Parabola Arts Centre of Cheltenham Ladies' College and Cheltenham Town Hall. The festival also has workshops, masterclasses for children and young people.

I helped to the festival team mostly about office support. I did not have a main task, I helped to anybody who needs help about their task. During my staff exchange, I had chance to also see concerts in the festival. I saw Kamasi Washington, Van Morrison, Beth Hart, Portico Quartet, Dinosaur, Donny McCaslin and many names. It was really helpful because I had chance to see to band that probably I would not see in Istanbul, I’ve discovered the new names. It helps for me for the future bookings.

It was great to learn how they’re doing the festival and compare to festivals in Turkey. The festival team was organized and very hospitable. The Head of Programming of the festival even invited me to a closed event that they talked about the jazz in UK.

It was great to be a part of this beautiful festival and amazing team. Thanks for Europe Jazz Network for this opportunity and thanks for Cheltenham Jazz Festival team for being so warm and amazing!