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Last chance to volunteer at Marsden Jazz Festival

Last chance to volunteer at Marsden Jazz Festival

People interested in volunteering at the Marsden Jazz Festival are being asked to contact the organisers in the next few days if they want to be part of this year’s event.

The festival’s annual volunteers’ meeting takes place on Wednesday 16 September when volunteers will be matched up with tasks for the weekend, ranging from stewarding a gig to marshalling road closures and staffing the box office.

Almost 100 gigs are taking place at this year’s festival between Friday 9 and Sunday 11 October at 26 venues across Marsden. Internationally-acclaimed saxophonist Jean Toussaint will lead the headliners during the weekend, which is being supported by Arts Council England and Kirklees Council and includes over 70 free events.

Most of the headline gigs will once again be taking place at the 19th century Mechanics Hall. Other venues include 13 pubs, clubs and bars, three outdoor stages, two cafes and one former cowshed.

Keely Taylor, a transport administrator in Kirkheaton, volunteered at the festival for the first time last year. She said:

“I saw an article in the local paper and my boyfriend and I thought it would be fun to get involved. We’d just moved to Linthwaite so were getting to know the area. I’d barely heard of Marsden, let alone the jazz festival.

“I really enjoyed being involved over the festival weekend; it was a great atmosphere. The parade was probably the highlight. I was a marshall during the road closures so got to watch it go past. It was pretty cool – I just thought ‘wow’!

“I was amazed that something the size of the jazz festival happened in such a small village. It was impressive to see everyone working together and I got to learn loads of new skills.

“I’ll be back again this year. Once you’ve done it once, you definitely want to come back.”

Around 70 volunteers are needed for this year’s Marsden Jazz Festival. Kate Button, who works for an educational company and lives in Marsden, has been involved with the festival since it started in 1992. She said:

“When we started the festival, the Mechanics Hall had been newly refurbished and we thought it would be a great way of showing its potential as well as recognising the Colne Valley’s musical heritage.

“I think local residents and businesses were a bit wary of it at first but now everyone in the village really embraces the festival. There’s such a vibrant atmosphere over the weekend.

“Volunteers can do as much or as little as they want. Some people are here for the entire weekend and others just volunteer at one gig. The roles range from setting up venues to stewarding the gigs and parade, and working in the box office and shop.

“You get to meet new people, have new experiences, learn new skills and, of course, hear some great music.

“We’d encourage people interested in volunteering at this year’s festival to get in touch as soon as possible as we’ll be finalising the rota in the next few days ahead of our annual volunteers’ meeting on Wednesday 16 September.”

The Marsden Jazz Festival is now entering its 24th year and has become a mainstay of the festival calendar in the UK, with performances by Simon Fell and Let Spin during last year’s event featuring on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Jazz on 3’ programme.

More details on volunteering at the 2015 festival are available at or by calling 01484 846969.

© 2015

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