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EFG London Jazz Festival to host first-ever Summer Stage event at RAD

The EFG London Jazz Festival is London’s biggest pan-city music festival, taking place annually in November. This year, on 31st August, it will be hosting its first-ever Summer Stage event at RAD, as part of the Join The Docks festival. We caught up with David Jones, Director of events organisation Serious, to find out more of what to expect, and how the event is showcasing the very best music talent in East London.


Why did you decide to have your first EFG London Jazz Festival Summer Stage event at RAD?

EFG London Jazz Festival is based on providing big, open free events that bring the community together. Most of what we have done in the past has been indoors. Having our first event outdoors at the Royal Albert Dock presents an exciting, new opportunity for us to discover and explore different themes. Of course, we knew of the Royal Docks but when we arrived here we found this amazing space that includes new architecture and buildings, as well as lots of open space. Not just that, but there are great views of the city and it is very accessible with many transport options. We are excited at how this new space gives us the potential to trial new ideas and themes that we aren’t necessarily able to in a more restricted environment.

The event itself will include seven hours of performances and we are aiming to have a Glastonbury-style feel, with activities for the whole family and all ages to enjoy, and food trucks to live performances and even a parade. The British jazz scene has grown and evolved so much over the last 30 to 40 years, and now we see a new generation of musicians emerging and making their mark. Not just that, but our performers come from a multitude of backgrounds bringing a diverse genre to the stage.


What can we expect at the summer event that will be different from your main event in November?

We are expecting a beautiful day outside in what can only be described as a scenic, and in some ways yet undiscovered part of London. People will be able to explore the Royal Docks area as well as enjoy a festival-style atmosphere showcasing talented musicians both from the local area and beyond.

This is not just a one-off. We are investing in this Summer Stage event and are learning and growing organically as we go along. We plan to make this a permanent extension of our November event.


Is there anything you are doing particularly to showcase East London, like local artists or themes?

One of our signature bands at this event will be Urban Flames, who are a 16-piece vocal group from Newham, who will be doing two sets at the summer stage – in fact, just to highlight, they will also be doing two sets at the main event in November. We are aiming to provide a fun and entertaining event, that doesn’t just speak to the audience, but engages and interacts with them. We will be showcasing many other new and emerging artists from the local area, East London, and beyond. New artists will be given the chance to take to the stage. We are trailblazing ideas that we haven’t previously been able to do in a fixed space environment.

We are expecting upwards of 3,000 people, making it just the right size to celebrate that strong sense of community of which East London is so well known.


Can you highlight some of the things the festival does to support new and emerging artists in the area?

The EFG London Jazz Festival has always been committed to working with new musicians and young people, in order to harness new and undiscovered talent and give them a chance to shine. We likewise work with some more established artists, giving the festival a unique mix.

As mentioned before, Urban Flames is a Newham-based group who will be performing two sets. Kinetika Bloco will bring a new British carnival sound with influences from the Caribbean, Brazil, and West and Southern Africa. We also have New Orleans jazz, funk, and hip hop.

We would also like to shout out to RAD, who has been immensely helpful in organising this and helping get the word out to the community.


For our final question, are there any other activities or events that people attending will be able to enjoy, in addition to what’s listed above?

Great final question – and for this I must say there will be some surprises, which we can’t give away – you have to attend to find out. But for those of you planning to attend, in addition to all of the great activities listed, you are in for a treat.


More info on Join The Docks at https://www.royaldocks.london/whats-on/join-the-docks

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