Henley pub operator and brewer Brakspear staged its second annual Jazz & Blues Festival earlier this month. More pubs hosted more performances and sales of Top Notch, Brakspear’s seasonal ale for November, are expected to top last year’s level.
This year, 24 pubs put on a total of 38 jazz or blues gigs – up from 29 in 2013. The programme, over 10 days, embraced a diverse range of musicians, from traditional to modern, soloists and duos to seven-piece bands, with new faces to the circuit as well as established performers. All pubs hosting an act ordered at least one barrel of Top Notch.
Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive, said, “It’s good to see that our second Jazz & Blues Festival has built on last year’s and been an even bigger success.
“The goal of the festival was to give our customers some top quality entertainment, usually free of charge, and to help our licensees to drive traffic during November, which can be a flat trading month for pubs. It certainly seems we’ve achieved that, with many venues filling out on their gig night with crowds of dancing or foot-tapping customers.
“Sales of Top Notch suggest that jazz and blues fans are just as thirsty as they were last year, with more than 80 barrels sold by the end of the Festival.”
The Cherry Tree in Stoke Row near Henley hosted a performance by Ed’s Mates, a four-piece jazz band. Manager Grant Atkinson said, “The pub was definitely busier than on a usual Friday night, and the band created a great atmosphere – they were a good fit for our customers, playing music that they could listen to while they dined initially, though as the evening progressed, most people were on the dance floor. Customers stayed to the end, so we sold a lot of additional drinks after they’d finished their meals.
“We had quite a few regulars in, so it was good to be able to reward them with this free entertainment, and we also saw a number of new faces, who had a great time with us so we hope we’ll see them again.”
Caption to attached image: Ed’s Mates play at the Cherry Tree Stoke Row as part of the Brakspear Jazz & Blues Festival
Issued on behalf of: Brakspear
Further information: ShielPorter Communications
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