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It's all about events
across the Weald and South East


The 2018 Rye international jazz and blues festival will take place from Friday 24th to Monday 27th August encompassing the August bank holiday weekend in the beautiful and historic town of Rye, East Sussex.

Now in its seventh year the festival is firmly established as one of the best high quality boutique music festivals of its kind in the UK, attracting thousands of music fans and families to attend from across the region.

The festival programme also includes a wealth of local and regional music talent during the festival and these free music events are a very important part of the overall programme which provides the platform for both established and emerging talent to perform to a wider and appreciative audience.

This year the varied and exciting festival programme includes world-class artists performing unique and intimate headline concerts in the stunning setting of St Mary’s Church, Rye.

The festival programme also extends into early September with two special concerts taking place at the iconic De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea on.

The festival kicks off with an evening of free music performances with ‘Funky Friday’ taking place Friday 24th August on the festival’s outdoor music stage from 6.00pm – 10.00pm.

Confirmed top line bands include Dom Pipkin and the Ikos from London who will be performing their unique blend of funky New Orleans jazz and blues followed by one of the most respected jazz funk bands in the South East, Hardlines with a line-up that consists of some of the finest session and touring musicians in the music business.

Acclaimed British Soul singer Tony Momrelle is the first off the festival’s headline concerts and performs an afternoon show at St Mary’s Church on Saturday 25th August with his incredible band.

Tony Momrelle

With a music career spanning twenty years Tony is one of the most respected British Soul singers of his generation and has been credited by the Guardian as the 21st Century Stevie Wonder’ so this concert is a must to attend if you appreciate the very best Soul music.

Tony has performed with some of the greatest artists in the world, including; Incognito, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Sade, Gary Barlow, Andrea Bocelli, Gwen Stefani, Robert Palmer and in Autumn of 2016 Tony supported the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire on their sold-out UK tour.

The amazing Zara McFarlane performs a headline evening concert on Saturday 25th August and has just been awarded the Jazz FM vocalist of the year 2018 to add to her growing collection of awards.

The acclaimed jazz singer and BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Clare Teal performs an afternoon concert at St Mary’s church on Sunday 25th August with her top drawer jazz musicians.

Clare’s concert will include a stunning repertoire from the grand masters of the Great American Song Book (Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart) to the witty and urbane stylists of the 50s and 60s (Cy Coleman, Carolyn Leigh and Dave Brubeck), with a nod to contemporary writers and originals too.

Songs include Cry Me a River, What Is This Thing Called Love, It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing and There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight and many more favourites.

Courtney Pine

The incredible jazz saxophonist and composer Courtney Pine performs his ground breaking show “The House of Legends” on Sunday 26th August. You can expect an exhilarating mix of Merengue, Ska, Mento and Calypso played through the lens of a UK born artist with strong Afro-Caribbean roots.

The Ronnie Scott’s Blues Explosion headline an afternoon concert at St Mary’s Church on Monday 27th August and are at the top of their game in the world of blues and jazz

The band comprises the very best UK blues musicians, with an unparalleled collective CV of collaborations which includes: Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Herbie Hancock, George Michael, Joe Bonnamassa, Jools Holland, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Craig David, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Jamie Callum, and Ten Years After… just to name a few.

This concert will deliver the best possible blues experience you can imagine as the band perform the finest Classic Chicago, Delta and cutting edge blues.

The festival proudly presents a truly unique experience to see a legendary Joan Armatrading up close and personal on Monday 27th August when she performs songs from her new album ‘Not too far away’ and her incredible back catalogue.

You can expect the very best of local and regional talent who will be performing a varied and dynamic mix of music styles including Jazz, Blues, Roots, RnB, Soul, Cuban, Latin and Funk. The atmosphere is amazing and the streets of Rye come alive with sounds and colours similar to that of New Orleans but still with a distinctive vibrancy and charm that is very much unique to both the festival and to Rye itself.

Corinne Bailey Rae

Grammy Award-winning songstress and guitarist Corinne Bailey Rae to perform a special concert at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill – on Sea on Friday 7th September.

Corinne will be performing her collection of hits such as Green Aphrodisiac, Put Your Records On and Like A Star as well as material from her breath taking new album The Heart Speaks In.

On Saturday 8th September the ‘Legendary’ Dionne Warwick in the first of her UK concert dates at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea performing her vast array of hits, including Walk On By, Anyone Who Had A Heart and Heartbreaker.

Dionne is one of the best-loved singers in the history of music. A career, which currently celebrates 50 years, has established her as an international music icon.

Additional artists will be announced over the coming weeks and be sure to book the dates in your diary and make that special journey to Rye this coming August bank holiday weekend.

Words by Ian Bowden – Festival Director

For the full programme and to purchase tickets go to

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