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Marlborough’s cash points – and pubs -- bled dry as those jazz fans hit town

The biggest and the best. That was the verdict on Marlborough’s International Jazz Festival at the weekend, the 25th of its kind.

The event attracted more than 4,000 fans to the town to listen to some 50 acts at 20 locations. And they boosted Marlborough’s economy by some £700,000.

“There’s the Arts Council formula we use for working that out -- and some anecdotal evidence too,” revealed Nick Fogg, the festival’s founder and Marlborough’s former mayor.  “On Sunday night every cash point in town was empty.”
Robert Hiscox, High Sherriff of Wiltshire, announcing the opening of the festival
“You can say criminal gangs were operating if you want to but you can also say that actually so many people were taking cash out to spend in Marlborough that obviously the cash points were bled dry.”

“Every pub reckons it is their best weekend of the year, even those pubs that we don’t put bands into.  There are additional benefits too. People come for the first time and like Marlborough so much that they come back for a return visit.”
Vocalist Alice More with the St John's Jazz Band at the opening ceremony
And he added: “It was certainly the best festival artistically.  I am not completely party to the finances or the numbers but our treasurer was looking as happy as a treasurer ever looks.  We are getting all sorts of approbation coming back to us from the audience.”
Claire Teal - signing CDs after her performance at Priory Park


“So it is quite a good feeling. We had a number of hiccups.  The weather wasn’t wonderful. And we had a power cut too. But it was the Dunkirk spirit yet again that made it such a success.”An indication of the impact came in the run-up to the festival with 3,741 hits on the festival website from 41 different countries, American interest in poll petition.  Overall attendance figures were marginally down because of the weather, but it didn’t stop a sell-out 900 listening to Clare Teal, Britain’s top jazz singer, and every one of the Priory Park events attended by around 1,000 admirers.”The festival also attracted record sponsorship some £80,000 of the £180,000 budget coming from a variety of companies headed by Brewin Dolphin.  

“Each year we think we can’t do that again,” said Mr Fogg.  “Some sponsors are one-off sponsors and don’t return.  So we have to replace them.  We managed to do that despite the economic downturn.

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  • Town-Hall-2011-05-03 08-
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  • Marlborough-2013-04-18 St Peters
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