Beaufort Jazz

Great music – and you are invited!

History

This page is one of those projects which will be always work in progress as  we acquire photos and snippets of information about our past. If you have any photos or interesting anecdotes which will help us to document the history of Beaufort Jazz, then please let us know by  leaving a comment below.

Our very first Beaufort Jazz evening was in October 2002 as a result of a chance conversation between Paul Budgen and Roy & Paul Gregory of Modjango.  In those days there was very little opportunity for Gypsy Jazz musicians to jam and play together in the North West. Clearly a venue was needed which could guarantee a regular monthly night. After some searching we found that the Beaufort Hotel in Burscough could give us the first Monday evening of every month

Roy Gregory Tom Sykes and Paul Gregory

Roy Gregory Tom Sykes and Paul Gregory

And so Beaufort Jazz was born.The photo shows Roy and Paul Gregory with Tom Sykes outside the Beaufort Hotel. Its one of the first photos we have and was taken in May 2003 to accompany a promotional press release. Also in 2003 the first Beaufort Jazz leaflet was produced and duly handed out at other live music gigs – 5000 of these were printed so it’s very likely that you have seen this before!

Following the request for more historical bits and pieces our attention was drawn to these photos of Gadjo Jazz and friends. It’s obviously the old Beaufort Hotel in the corner with the famous multicoloured curtains. For some reason we didn’t have the small stage out that night. It’s possible that we didn’t actually have the stage then, or more likely that Chris Haywood on violin thought that with the stage he was getting a bit close to the ceiling with his bow! It looks like these were taken in December 2007.

A typical Beaufort Jam session

In January 2009 the first storm clouds started to gather over our home when we learnt that the Beaufort Hotel had gone into administration. For a while it seemed that it might be sold as a going concern and continue as a hotel. Unfortunately these hopes were soon quashed when it was announced shortly after that the hotel would close. Our very last night at the Beaufort was Monday May 4th 2009 with the hotel to close its doors for the last time the following day.

Being the last men standing –  as it were was a strange experience. The bar had very little stock and a lot of furniture had already gone. Inevitably then many of us were standing and sober, listening to surprisingly uplifting music under the circumstances. The small stage and its backdrop had also disappeared so we took the decision to perform in the other corner of the room. For some reason the sound was much better in this corner, ironic that it had taken over seven years to discover this – and on our last night.

The Beaufort Hotel - former home of Beaufort Jazz

Former Beaufort Hotel

After a numerous phone conversations and visits to potential venues we found the Orangery at the Briars Hall Hotel, just down the road from the Beaufort Hotel. It’s fair to say that it was quite a bit different from the Beaufort. Realistically, the Orangery could only hold about 60 people so was never going to be a long-term home for us. It did however allow us to carry on without a break and against the odds, we were able to go ahead with our June Beaufort Jazz evening.

At the end of 2009 it became clear that we needed to move on from the Orangery. The obvious venue was the Ellerbrook Suite in the Briars Hall where we had held one-off concerts in the past. One problem was that the Ellerbrook Suite was directly under the main bedrooms at the Briars Hall Hotel making mid-week concerts an issue. Eventually a solution was reached where we agreed to end the evening at 10.30pm. If the rooms were unfilled then there was the possibility of playing later.

So the deal was agreed and The Ellerbrook Suite became the new home for our Beaufort Jazz evenings. Being able to accommodate over 100 audience with cabaret seating the suite was a definite improvement over the Orangery. A stage was needed for the new venue which could be dismantled and kept at the Briars Hall Hotel.

Beaufort Jazz stage

First sectiion of the stage completed - three more to go!

After deciding that a professional folding stage was well out of our budget there was nothing left to do but to improvise and make something ourselves. Paul came up with an idea for the construction and after a few days of hard work managed to produce a fine working stage. As time was short there was no time to apply the final coat of matt black paint – which happens to be still the case today.

After much effort the first Beaufort Jazz night in the Ellerbrook Suite took place on the 5th April 2010 with Swingology agreeing to perform the opening featured spot. It was a great evening. Beaufort Jazz was back – and better than ever.

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2 Comments »

  1. How about a gig please

    Comment by Paul Vernon Chester | February 12, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi Paul

    That sounds good! I have sent you an email and passed your message on. Hope something can be arranged!

    Comment by beaufortjazz | February 20, 2011 | Reply


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