If you don’t know already, The Spitfire Sisters are also the Directors of Winchester Jazz Festival. Our third festival starts next week, and we can’t believe how quickly the last year has flown by. It has taken so much effort, work, sleepless nights and long meetings (with gin) to bring Winchester this festival, and we’re so proud of it.
How did it all come about? At the beginning of 2014, Hannah announced that she had two ideas at a meeting with Louisa and Anna. The first idea was to host our own Spitfire NYE event. The second was to bring a jazz festival to Winchester. At the time, we had no idea the difference in scale of those two plans… The jazz festival thought was put on the back burner while we organised our NYE 2014/15 event, but come January we realised that there are some fantastic venues in Winchester, brilliant local musicians and an audience just waiting for jazz to arrive in the city. All that was missing was a festival.
We held a launch event in September 2015, and our first official festival began in 2016. While we have lots of experience organising and running events, a festival is a completely different ballgame. This year we have 23 events in 11 different venues throughout Winchester City Centre. That’s a lot of events to organise! Thankfully we have support from the community, including venues, sponsors and patrons. After an intense application process, we are also fortunate to have received support from the Arts Council this year.
While we try and keep our Spitfire identity separate from our WJF identity, there is a bit of a crossover. We are delighted that our vocal workshop at Cabinet Rooms has sold out, and we will also be making a guest appearance at Swinging From The Chandeliers (you may also recognise quite a few familiar faces in Louisa Revolta’s Swing Collective who are the house band for the evening!). Although we are determined that WJF operates as an entirely separate business, it’s hard for us not to get involved in the performance side of things.
Predominately however we are backstage, running around, meeting artists at venues, photographing events, distributing programmes, welcoming ticket holders and making sure the festival is as smooth running as it can be.
We really hope you can make it along to the festival at some point over the weekend. We have worked incredibly hard on building the festival. Given what we do with The Spitfire Sisters, I’m sure you can understand how important we feel it is to support live music. Thank you for your support in everything we do, both for Winchester Jazz Festival and The Spitfire Sisters!
You can find details of all of our WJF on our website: www.winchesterjazzfestival.com, or on our instagram and twitter: @winchjazzfest.