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Get into the swing at Riverside Festival

Published on Monday, May 14, 2018

Castle Gardens, on the banks of the River Soar, will echo to the sound of live blues, swing and jazz music while festival goers get the chance to jive to popular swing dances such as the Lindy Hop, Charleston and Balboa.

It is all part of the Broken Records Swing Festival, which will see live performers and bands recreating the heyday of jazz, big band and swing music combined with dance classes to give visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of popular swing dancers from the 1920s to 1940s.

And if that sounds a little too much like hard work, festival-goers can simply relax in Castle Gardens and listen to some of the region’s finest jazz, blues and swing bands perform in the leafy, cool surroundings.

The event is the newest addition to the programme of family-friendly events at this year’s Riverside Festival, which takes place on Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3.

The swing event is organised in collaboration with The Shed music venue in Yeoman Street, and will bring to life all the fun and energy of popular music and dance from a bygone era, which is experiencing a resurgence due to the popularity of bands such as Postmodern Jukebox who rework modern songs in the spirit and sound of music from the 1920s to 1940s.

Saturday’s programme of events will kick off at 12noon in a dance class with All That Jazz, followed by KGB Jazz from 1.15pm, who will play a exciting blend of jazz standards, swing, Latin and their own original songs.

They will be followed at 2.15pm by jazz/easy listening outfit TapTonic, with the 14-piece DMU Jazz Society Band taking centre stage at 3.30pm.

Maniere des Bohemians will bring their own exhilarating live blend of energetic and improvised Gypsy Jazz from 5pm, in the style of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephan Grappelli.

Sunday’s events will begin at 12pm with dance classes from All That Jazz, followed by a performance from established Leicester jazz outfit The Tony Webster Band, at 1.20pm.

The Jamms Band will be playing their own take on popular instrumental jazz arrangements from 2.15pm, while La Reverie play an evocative range of French chansons and jazz standards from 3pm.

The music will reach a climax with the University of Leicester Big Band at 4pm, who will bring to the stage their energetic reworking of classic jazz tunes and popular modern songs.

Riverside Festival is the city’s largest free festival, taking place on the Mile Straight of the River Soar, Bede Park, Western Boulevard and Castle Gardens.

The festival, now in its 21st year, regularly includes a programme of street entertainment and live music, fun fair and children’s activities, a street market selling arts, crafts and food, as well as plenty of river-based activities including a narrow boat rally, rides and demonstrations.

This year also sees the first ever Art On the River exhibition, involving local artists displaying their works along Western Boulevard.

Full details of the Riverside Festival are available at: