Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Ok, apologies for my less than prolific blogging of late, but I have spent the last several days trying to book tickets for a jazz festival. This is no word of a lie.

So. Very excited I was, at the prospect of seeing lots of UK jazz mates in New York and hearing some fantastic music, so it was with no lack of will and enthusiasm that I went about this task.
The trail originated here with an article about Stan Tracey by Evening Standard jazz critic Jack Massarik in a popular NY jazz magazine. It directed me here.

Let's pause here for a minute whilst trying to put a jazz name to the Buckingham Palace sax-playing-guard face or endeavouring to understand quite what Fernando Varela is doing in a British Jazz Festival, or indeed wondering if Marian McCartland should in fact read Marian McPartland or perhaps even Barbara Cartland ......? And Jean Toussaint is American. Clearly. I then clicked on the link to 'listen to sample tracks' by the festival performers......Tubby Hayes (uh?!) Wow - this was going to be an even more extraordinary festival than I'd imagined.......

Somewhat taken aback by the sheer size of this programme (3 nights and a day) and the number of musicians coming over and hence the resources it would require, and also slightly alarmed that if this was happening in 10 days time, that's not a lot of time to get an audience, particularly if they can't find out how to buy a ticket..

Anyway, there are nevertheless many musicians I'd want to see on that list, Union Jacks aside, so I continued the trail to here. Ok, a page about the festival but no information as to how to purchase tickets. A competition to win tickets though! So I entered several times. I then listened to the station for some mention as to how to buy tickets. (But not for long you understand.) No mention.

Then checked all the musicians websites. Most said simply 'New York UK jazz festival' or various adaptations on that theme, some didn't mention it at all and others said 'tba.' A little suspicious one might think, but then I've worked with musicians for years and frankly most of them have better things to do than update their websites. The lovely Julian Joseph's website however, pointed directly to the venue.

To the venue website then. Weird thing about this being that however many times I reloaded the calendar or joined new types of mailing list, there was no mention whatsoever of a jazz festival. Curiouser and curiouser. So I phoned the venue. A very bemused man in the box office told me I was basically imagining it and there was no jazz festival happening there next week, British or otherwise. But would I like to go to the McDonald's Gospelfest 2006? Nah. Thanks anyway mate.

Ok, I thought, (overly optimistic by now you might think, but by this point obtaining tickets had become the sort of challenge which keeps a shark awake at night,) maybe it's a private hire and therefore there's some ticket agency looking after it? This happens quite a lot in New York, so I was still excited. Ish.

Put a few feelers out re. the 'swanky bash' - but a friend who just happened to be seeing someone at the British Consulate last night and 'mentioned' the jazz festival reported back that they hadn't got a clue what he was talking about.

Then came an email from D, who had been on the trail for as long as I had, and had just received a reply from the record company whom she had emailed to ask how to get tickets.
Apparently the festival is postponed till the Autumn due to 'issues regarding global broadcast'. Whatever that means. I can imagine what it means actually.... one thing spending 15 years in a windowless office in a major arts centre should have taught me ā€“ to go with my hunches.

So days later I now have an inbox full of junk mail from all the websites I registered with along the way. I've even been forced to listen to a smooth jazz radio station for a full 2 hours this week (and you've no idea how much tai chi I'm going to have to do to get over that), and there is still a trail a mile long on everyone's websites to this non-existent jazz festival.

Thankfully I have my own Brits coming today ā€“ OVP & C. And Iā€™m sure much improvising will take place over the next few days without the aid of a Beefeater, or indeed any kind of net, safety, inter or otherwise.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh lordy... reading that was like giving birth (i know, slight exageration!)... i felt your frustration, girl!

5:20 PM, April 20, 2006  

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