Marlborough Jazz Festival will return this summer, but wth a smaller event confined to Marlborough Town Hall and St Mary’s Church.
And organisers are laying the blame for the confinement of the festival squarely at the door of Wiltshire Council.
Seven bands have so far been confirmed for the three-day festival, which takes place over the weekend of Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16, with a couple more acts to be confirmed.
But fans of the traditional stroller element – and no doubt the pubs that have, in the past, hosted dozens of musical acts across festival weekend – will be disappointed that the action is mainly confined to the Town Hall.
In an announcement posted to their website last night (Sunday) the organisers said: “The failure of the local authority to grant adequate road closures in the interests of public safety has made it impossible for the Marlborough International Jazz Festival to continue in its now traditional form.
“Conscious of the disappointment expressed by our loyal punters and sponsors, the organisers have decided to nevertheless hold an event this year, featuring all-star performers, in Marlborough Town Hall over the weekend of 14th-16th July.”
The festival will open on Friday night with an as yet unconfirmed act, followed by American saxophonist Greg Abate and his quartet.
Jazz singer Annika Skoogh and her quartet will open Saturday proceedings, followed by local acts Mother’s Jam and the Marlborough Community Choir.
Festival goers will then be able to ‘stroll’ from the downstairs Court Room to the upstairs Assembly Room to hear The Hitman Blues Band and the New York City Horns, The Latin Underground, and headliners The Debbie Bond Quartet.
And on Sunday, the Marlborough Community Choir will be appearing again in support of Debbie Bond and Rick Asheton for the Annual Jazz Service at St. Mary’s Church.
Sunday afternoon’s closing act has yet to be confirmed.
Tickets will go on sale in April.
Festival organiser Nick Fogg hinted at a smaller festival when he spoke to Marlborough News Online in October last year.
Last year, Wiltshire Council refused an all-day road closure on Festival Saturday, instead offering organisers a closure from 5pm – an offer they declined.
The council had come under increasing pressure from a group of around 70 High Street traders – the Marlborough High Street Retailers Association – who had said they were losing thousands of pounds each every year, and were requesting a later closure on Saturday to allow normal trading conditions.