Ahead of this Summer’s Mostly Jazz festival in Birmingham, we caught up with John Fell, one of the organisers of the festival for a chat about all things Mostly Jazz. Check out what he had to say below
Gazfunk: How/when did the idea to hold a “Mostly Jazz” festival first come about?
John Fell: Like all of our events it comes from wanting to bring the music we love to the city and what better environment than a festival! At the time of creation there was very little dedicated to the three genres of Jazz, Funk & Soul so we decided to make Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival! We already had the perfect venue and blueprint from our other festival, Moseley Folk Festival, and felt there would be a market for it… It turned out more than we expected!!
G: For those readers who don’t know, when was the first Mostly Jazz and what artists performed?
J F: The first Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival took place in 2010. We were delighted to be able to bring artists like Sun Ra Arkestra, Courtney Pine, Quantic & His Combo Barbaro, Portico Quartet and James Taylor quartet to name a few. It was originally a two-day event on Saturday and Sunday but far more people than we expected attended so we decided to add the Friday the following year! Again, it was well attended and the festival has grown in size ever since! It’s now at its 2000 capacity!
G: To date, what other artists have taken part?
J F: We’ve had a whole host of acts including legendary funk & soul artists, ultra cool DJ’s and the best up & coming bands. They include George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Family Stone, Booker T, Roots Manuva, Cinematic Orchestra, Craig Charles, Mr Scruff, Bad Bad Not Good & Introducing to name a few.
G: The festival seems to be going from strength to strength, has the popularity of the festival surprised you?
J F: Definitely! We run a folk festival too which also sells out every year but we were expecting Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival to take a little longer. It instantly felt like there was a crowd who were really looking for an event like this. We were delighted as we’re all massive fans of Jazz, Funk & Soul.
G: This year’s line-up appears quite exciting too, are there any particular acts we should look out for?
J F: Naturally the headliners are always going to be exciting but to have Chic featuring Nile Rodgers closing the festival is an absolute dream. We’re so excited and the feedback has been great! Although I’m personally excited about seeing Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on Friday who will be bringing their own unique brand of New Orleans style brass to the park. It doesn’t get better than that for me!
G: Finally, can you give us details of where tickets can be bought and where we can find out any other general info about the festival?
J F: All information for this years Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival can be found over at our official website – www.mostlyjazz.co.uk. You can also keep up to date with the latest news by liking our facebook page (www.facebook.com/mostlyjazz) or following us on twitter @mostly_jazz
As with all our guest interviewees, we asked John to select a track for us to feature and he picked the excellent Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’s “War” – enjoy!