Jazzfest needs help to continue

Firstly, I would like to thank your correspondent, Robin Redsull for complimenting The Hastings Winkle Club for its efforts in co-coordinating Hastings first Jazz Festival.

The event was months in the planning, sponsorship had to be raised and finally there was five days of work to be done both before, during and after the Festival itself.

As usual with voluntary organisations, we lacked the numbers needed to complete all the tasks necessary (both physical and bureaucratic ) and in the end it was down to a small but dedicated band to tackle all the work required and as a result, we had a really great event on Sunday at least.

It is important to stress that the Winkle Club raised all the sponsorship money, put up the fencing, engaged and paid for the stage suppliers, First Aid, security etc..and then even collected the tables and chairs and arranged for the bar, the barbecue, the on-site sheds (many thanks to Skinners) and even the rubbish bins. We also produced and distributed all the publicity posters, flyers and programmes. I think your readers will get the picture. Too few people struggling with a massive workload.

Nonetheless, we got there and our efforts would seem to have raised around £2,000 for local good causes. We had hoped for much more but the overheads eat away at the final total.

I agree with Robin Redsull that Saturday evening’s programme was only geared to obscure minority tastes but the so-called musicians were booked by a Hastings council officer and had absolutely nothing to do with the Winkle Club. The council’s choice was a shame though, as many people walked out and said that they would not return on the Sunday.

The Bands secured by Mike Raxworthy Music both within the arena and in local pubs were absolutely brilliant and produced for far less cost than Saturday evening’s offer. Our thanks to him, our generous sponsors and to all who helped and supported us.

I am sorry that there was no coffee available on Saturday and most certainly Eat@The Stade knew everything about the event taking place. They had a pile of our publicity flyers delivered to them. We secured a Licensed Bar which had soft drinks as well as alcohol and we’re grateful to the FILO for running that.

We couldn’t possibly have extended the festival to three evenings as we just did not have the required resources. We wanted to keep this as a free event, available to all. At least we tried and brought huge sunshine-bathed enjoyment to many on the Sunday. That was good and we made a little money as well.

The council, I note in its Stade Saturdays brochure, gives no credit whatsoever to the Winkle Club for Hastings’ first Jazzfest but prefers to give the impression that it was their inaugural event as part of their Stade on Saturdays events. That is simply unreasonable and unworthy of them. What’s more it will make it all the more difficult in the future for the club to provide what Mr Redsull describes as ‘the last link in the annual musical events chain for our town.’

Unless others come on board, a second Jazzfest seems only a very remote possibility.

Richard Stevens

Hastings Winkle Club

All Saints Street


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