Sunny weather and all that jazz brings record crowd to The Pantiles

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

THIS summer’s music nights have been among the best attended in the 27-year history of Jazz on The Pantiles events.

Around 1,500 to 2,000 people have packed the promenade to watch the live performances on the Bandstand, which have been held every Thursday from 7pm since May 3.

Julian Leefe-Griffiths, Managing Director of The Tunbridge Wells Hotel and the event organiser, said of this summer’s run: ‘It has been our best received so far.

‘We have been lucky with the weather, every night it has been warm, and the attendance has been up on average.

‘As ever, there has been a nice atmosphere and great vibe.’

The jazz night attendance does not include the hundreds of extra customers who come to restaurants on The Pantiles for the occasion – which provides a huge economic boost to the area.

Mr Leefe-Griffiths took charge of the events six years ago after a previous incarnation of Jazz on The Pantiles was forced to stop after 21 years.

It has now become a staple of the summer for music fans, with the final Thursday [this year on September 27] providing a Last Night of the Proms-style occasion.

Alongside fellow organiser Lionel Shell (a respected drummer in the band Unit Seven), Mr Leefe-Griffiths has kept refining the line-up of bands and musicians, trying to bring back popular acts.

The Jive Aces and Project Five have both proved a big hit, while Spice Fusion and Quantum Collective are exciting names on the line-up this month.

‘We have some good bands coming up and there have not been any acts we have been displeased with,’ added Mr Leefe-Griffiths.

The organiser has also been behind the Soul Train music nights on The Pantiles, which offer a mixture of 1970s groove and funk music.

And last month saw The Pantiles Vintage Fair, one of the regular events held through the year.

Jazz on The Pantiles is backed by several local firms – lead sponsor Thomson Snell & Passmore, as well as NFU Mutual, Tunbridge Wells Personal Training [TWPT], Brooks Macdonald and Dandara.

PICTURE: WARMING UP: The jazz crowds filled dining tables early on The Pantiles

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