Bring & Mix

This blog post originally appeared on Louisa’s website, www.louisarevolta.com

There are many things that I love about my job. One of them is having the chance to explore and discover amazing venues. This weekend I had the opportunity to perform for the guests at Southampton’s secret speakeasy Bring and Mix.

Nestled in the heart of Bedford Place this intimate venue harks back to the days of prohibition and has a wonderful atmosphere with attentive and friendly service and glamorous decor. The venue is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings with the first table at 6.00pm and the final sitting at 9.15pm. Prices range from £19 - £22 per person and this is for a two hour session. As the name suggests, for this experience you bring your favourite spirits and the mixologists create unique and delicious cocktails to suit your taste. It is essential to book in advance and you may have to book ahead by a few weeks but the experience is worth the wait. Your booking confirmation will come with a secret password that you must say as you are greeted at the venue and lead upstairs to a hidden doorway inside a bookcase.

For me it is a wonderful excuse to add new songs to my repertoire and quietly people watch while I lose myself in the music and soak in the atmosphere. I enjoy singing over the hubbub of conversation and the rattling of ice cubes being shaken overhead behind the bar.

When they are not busy being a speakeasy on Friday and Saturdays, Bring and Mix are available for private hire. I first discovered the place when Women Who Do held a speed networking event there. I have also been a customer when hair and makeup stylist Miss Pearl Curl of Pearl’s Pinup Parlour teamed up with Wayne Treasure of Treasure the Moments photography to offer a photography package at Bring and Mix.

Photo by Wayne Treasure, hair and makeup by Pearl’s Pinup Parlour

Photo by Wayne Treasure, hair and makeup by Pearl’s Pinup Parlour

I have also teamed up with Vintage Keys Studio and invaded Bring and Mix with an army of microphones, musicians and cameras to offer singers a chance to record their very own live performance. Here are a couple of examples, one of them sung by the wonderful Andrea Kelso and another swing cover by yours truly.

We will be shortly announcing another date for an opportunity to come and record at Bring and Mix with pianist Steve Christie and the Vintage Keys Studio recording team.

Our Other Lives - The Spitfire Sisters x Winchester Jazz Festival

Hejira, Friday 21st September 2018 at The Railway Inn

Hejira, Friday 21st September 2018 at The Railway Inn

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. 

The Ashley Henry Trio - Saturday 22nd September 2018 at The Railway Inn

The Ashley Henry Trio - Saturday 22nd September 2018 at The Railway Inn

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.

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