Eal­ing and its jazz and blues fes­ti­vals have been a sum­mer­time fix­ture over the years at beau­ti­ful Wal­pole Park. I’ve attend­ed the last two Blues fes­ti­vals (read Eal­ing Blues 2013) but this time round we rolled up for the final Jazz day. I won­der if the organ­is­ers have a pact with the weath­er gods? Each time I’ve been to Eal­ing’s sum­mer fes­ti­vals, it has been warm and most­ly sunny.

The organ­is­ers have found a win­ning for­mu­la and each year just do some minor tweaks – after all, why mess with some­thing that works? There’s a gen­er­ous-sized bar (com­plete with pianist and dou­ble bass enter­tain­ing the clien­tele lat­er in the after­noon), two large music tents, set at either end of the ‘are­na’, almost enough (clean) por­taloos to ser­vice Glas­ton­bury, and plen­ty of mer­chan­dise for those who are fond of a spot of fes­ti­val shop­ping. Food stalls punch some­what above the fes­ti­val’s weight, which is no bad thing. Vast por­tions of jerk chick­en siz­zle on a grill, Moroc­can tagines bub­ble away, there’s the French La Grande Bouffe with its giant pans of wine infused creamy pota­to, and deli­cious salt­ed choco­late brown­ies at the cap­puc­ci­no stall are hard to resist.

We sat and watched Sarah Tandy and the Water­tight Group with the expres­sive trom­bone play­er Tom White join­ing them. They had gath­ered a huge crowd in the main tent; the sound was relayed by speak­ers to the crowd pic­nick­ing on the grass out­side. Lat­er we were entranced by the sin­u­ous Latin rhythms of Geoff Castle’s and Paz Reunion Band who par­tic­u­lar­ly suit­ed the occa­sion. They have been togeth­er, in var­i­ous forms, over many years and it was intrigu­ing to find out that their gui­tarist Ed Speight played with Ian Dury and on Tubu­lar Bells.

Ealing jazz festival
Tom White joins Sarah Tandy

The oth­er joy­ful per­for­mance of the day was a rov­ing band who made their way around the fes­ti­val site car­ni­val style – Dick Cook and the Jam­bal­aya Parade Band. Their New Orleans style jazz was utter­ly infec­tious and they got sev­er­al mem­bers of the crowd dancing.

jazz band



WHO: Eal­ing Jazz Festival
WHEN: June 23–27, 2014
WHERE: Wal­pole Park, Eal­ing, London
TICKETS: £5 per day



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