The free Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival returns this weekend after a three year hiatus

The Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival is returning this weekend, and is free for all to attend.

By Aimee Seddon
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 8:17 am

Hosted by North West based music outfit ALTR, the festival starts with a daytime Summer Dance Party at Ships and Giggles today (Saturday May 15), and will feature fifteen events over two weeks.

Sponsored by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Arts Council England, and Preston City Council, it is the first time the event has been held in-person since 2019 because of the pandemic and is set to attract world-class talent alongside up and coming local artists.

Festival Director Tony Rigg said: “Whilst the festival has grown out of the University, it is very much a festival of music and culture for the city. It is very collaborative and run by a steering group with members of the community who really wanted to make sure there was something for everyone.

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Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival returns this weekend, pictured above is Graham Massey and Toolshed, who will be performing. Graham, who was co-founder of 808 State, is also an Honorary Fellow of UCLan

“We were also keen to help rebuild the region’s musical offering with activities that encourage music making and build audience confidence, encouraging everyone to enjoy music in safe environments.”

There will be a variety of events all over the city, including the first appearance in Preston of British music pioneer Zed Bias on Sunday May 15, who will be doing a music production masterclass followed by a DJ set at The Continental.

Other highlights include Soundskills in Brookfield on Tuesday May 17, which will involve the screening of a film that captures some of Preston’s music histories, whilst on Saturday May 21, Lancashire Schools and the Lancashire Youth Jazz Orchestra’s will perform in public for the first time since before Covid, along with local favourites Honk.

The event also sees the return of record producer Graham Massey and Toolshed, who will be bringing the brand new MET venue to life on Thursday May 26.

Celebrated musician, composer and audio designer Aziz Ibrahim showing people how to make music on mobile devices.

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Tony, who helped set up UCLan’s Masters degree in music industry management, added: “It’s impossible to pick highlights from the line up as everything on the program is brilliant, and we have tried very hard to offer something for everyone, from experimental electronic music to traditional Jazz.

“I am very excited about the workshops because we are sowing seeds for future music makers and promoters, which include samba funk drumming on Sunday 22 May, how to put on your own music event on Monday 23 May, and on the 24 May we have celebrated musician, composer and audio designer Aziz Ibrahim showing people how to make music on mobile devices.

“Aziz who, amongst his many credits, was actually a member of the Stone Roses and collaborated with Ian Brown, Asia, Akala and many more, will also be hosting an Open Mic night at the Ferret so people can come and share their own music and even jam with Aziz. It is great to see the city’s new talent emerging at events like these.”

For the finale on May 28, Jazzin’ the Park will return to Winckley Square, which Tony calls "a celebration of music and community in a beautiful park at the heart of Preston. It is the perfect opportunity for people to bring picnics and relax in an open outdoor space whilst listening to amazing live music.”

For more information go to, or follow the event on Facebook and Instagram.

Advance booking for workshops is recommended.