New Orleans, Memphis and the UK

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If its May there must be the smell of summer in the air and the sound of music in your ears, for festivals around the world celebrate this time of year with Jazz - but the leader of the pack has to be New Orleans. The great Mahalia Jackson participated in the first Jazz Fest in1970, performing in Congo Square alongside other legends such as Duke Ellington and Fats Domino. Since then the organization has presented a world class event comprising a daytime fair with indigenous music, food booths of Louisiana cuisine, arts and crafts as well as an evening concert series. The audience has grown to almost a million people who flock from all all over the world  to experience what many consider to be the world’s most authentic jazz festival.
As well as regular favorites such as Buckwheat Zydeco  & Allen Toussaint, the line up for Jazz Fest shares a number of artists on the bill for the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis – such as John Legend,  The Allman Brothers, and Steely Dan.
Beale Street is part of the Memphis in May International Festival. In the same way as New Orleans is considered to be the fountainhead of Jazz, Beale Street calls itself the birthplace of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll no less!  Check out the Beale street website to learn about its colourful past! This year the Memphis in May event honors Spain, hosts the World Championship BBQ cooking contest and The Temptations will take to the stage for the Regions Sunset Symphony in Tom Lee Park complete with a syncronised pyrotechnic display courtesy of Back Yard Burgers.

The cities of New Orleans and Cheltenham not only have have Jazz in common but both are known for their equestrian events. Cheltenham is also famous for its elegant regency architecture, spas and hosting a number of festivals throughout the year, from literature to classical music.
The Cheltenham jazz festival began in 1996 and now has the support of BBC Radio 2. The program is top notch with performances by  Madeline Peyroux, Koop and the  BBC Big Band, cool double bills such as Gilles Petersen with Ben Westbeech or The Cinematic Orchestra and The Nextmen,  an interview with and a performance by legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd,  and an  improvised jazz set by the Guillemots! As part of the Jerwood Jazz Generation, there will be a performance by Sebastian Rochford’s Fulborn Teversham –  sporting a spectacular mound of hair, Sebastian is known for making ‘playful …prog –skronk’ music according to London’s Time out magazine. Fulborn includes members of Acoustic Ladyland and Babyshambles. I will be in the London attending a friends wedding on the day of Fulborn’s performance so otherwise indisposed but if any of you attend, please write to me and let me know what prog skronk sounds like live!

Other artists on tour around the world include:
Manu Chao
Lucinda Williams - she will be appearing soon at the Stagecoach Country Music festival in Indio Palm Springs – the same location as Coachella – the bill includes the  Willie Nelson, Neko Case, George Strait and many more great country artists, both new and seasoned.

That’s it for this week’s Global Gig Guide.

We’d love to hear about festivals in your part of the world, so why not send us an email?  Otherwise check back with us next week for more information on Global Gigging.

The Global Gig Guide is produced  for by JC Swiatek and the theme music is composed by The Plush Interiors.

Calendar listing:

Midi Festival , Beijing China  May 1 – 4th biggest rock festival in China
featuring mainly Chinese acts (bands and DJs)
but also some international ones – this year Dave Stewart will debut his environmentally charged ‘Go Green’ song with Nadirah X.

Stagecoach Festival, Indio Palm Springs May 5th & 6th
Held at the Empire Polo Fields Indio Palm Springs (the weekend after Coachella’s alt/rock/electronica festival)
The Stagecoach festival is representing the country music world, with artists such as Willie Nelson, Neko Case, Lucinda Williams and George Strait and many more.

High Line Festival  New York May 9 – 19th
Curated by David Bowie,Featuring music, performance, visual art, comedy and film. Artists on the bill include Ricky Gervais in his US stand up debut, Arcade Fire, Air, Deerhoof and much more…

Movement; Detroits Electronic festival May 26 -28

Pinkpop festival, Laandgraaf, Netherlands May 26-28
Europe’s oldest pop festival! Bill includes Smashing Pumpkins, Artic Monkeys, Snow Patrol, Amy Winehouse

Ojai Music Festival, California June 8-10
Program includes - The Los Angeles Master Chorale, Nexus, Peter Eotovos, Bugallo-Williams

Fusion Festival Germany June 28 – July 1st
Line up TBD.

Held in Iceland as the name would suggest! October 17-21

Disclaimer: Although I have  tried to make the Global Gig Guide as accurate as possible, KCRW accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person resulting from information contained in the Global Gig Guide . We would recommend that you to verify any critical information with the relevant authorities before you travel.