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The Future is now, the Future is Gateshead Jazz

Posted on 21 February 2020


At a time when Jazz is having a huge populist revival, particularly amongst young audiences, Sage Gateshead’s rebooted festival, Gateshead Jazz, taking place at the world renowned venue between 20 and 22 March, is set to respond in grand style with programming and content that reflects the genre’s growing popularity with the next generation of fans.

The established festival shifts into a new era this year with a fresh name Gateshead Jazz and a focus on attracting new audiences with cutting-edge artists joining established names, reflecting the current fervour for the genre. Bands such as GoGo Penguin, SEED Ensemble and Ibibio Sound Machine are billed on this year’s line-up; collaborations between trumpeter Yazz Ahmed and Sage Gateshead’s youth jazz ensemble Jambone, led by Paul Edis, are taking place; discussions about the new generation of jazz, hosted by Worldwide FM’s Tina Edwards and band NikNak are planned; partnerships with Northumbria University will offer a new jazz art exhibition; and £5 ticket offers for under 25s are on offer throughout the whole festival.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director at Sage Gateshead said: “It’s a brilliant time for jazz right now, with a really exciting group of musicians coming through and new interest from audiences. We’re really looking forward to our festival, which sits within a year-round programme of gigs, our musician development programme and our work with young people in jazz. Just last week, we ran a Jazz Camp for Girls – two days in which girls could try out and own this kind of music.  The genre is changing and developing fast and we’re looking forward to showcasing this in the festival.”

Bands performing this year include GoGo Penguin, whose music has been described as acoustic-electronica but who draw equally on rock, jazz and minimalism, computer game soundtracks and glitchy-electronica to create their unique music; Mercury Award nominated ten-piece band, SEED Ensemble, led by alto saxophonist and composer Cassie Kinoshi; Ibibio Sound Machine who are also billed on Latitude’s line up this year and who performed at last year’s Glastonbury Festival; Phronesis’ Jasper Høiby’s Planet B and late night DJs.

Working with Sage Gateshead’s young jazz musicians this week is Yazz Ahmed, trumpeter and composer preparing new compositions to play at the festival.

When Yazz isn’t performing with the likes of Radiohead, Nile Rogers and Lee Scratch Perry, the British-Bahraini trumpet player and composer, seeks to blur the lines between jazz and electronic sound design, bringing together the sounds of her mixed heritage in what has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’.

In a series of informal chats which will take place over a drink at the bar, some of the festival artists will join hosts NikNak and Tina Edwards, to share their thoughts on what the future holds for new jazz. Tina has been at the forefront of the ‘UK Jazz explosion’, seeing artists like Ezra Collective, Kamaal Williams and Mercury-nominated Sons of Kemet coming to the forefront of popular music. Tina hosts the flagship show on Worldwide FM, the award-winning station of BBC6 music staple Gilles Peterson and has made several appearances on BBC Radio.

Tina Edwards said: “I’m really looking forward to my first time at Gateshead Jazz Fest. What I love about music is how it mirrors culture; whatever we do as a society will have an impact on a musician’s influences. In trying to predict where Jazz might go next, I want to explore its increasingly genre-bending nature, the digital age and what our next crop of rising artists are passionate about.”

In collaboration with Sage Gateshead are Northumbria University who invited the students from the Graphic Design course to create some new artwork to be presented at the festival for the first time, giving the students the opportunity to offer a fresh look and a younger appeal to the festival. This impressive work will be on exhibition over the weekend.

Andy Reay, Graphic Design Programme Lead at Northumbria University said: “This has been a great opportunity for the students to challenge the established perceptions surrounding Jazz, and through their research and insights, explore ways to bring it to the attention of a new audience.

With £5 tickets on offer to anyone 25, Sage Gateshead – the organisers of this year’s festival – are hoping to see these audiences come and hear more than they may have previously done. Tickets will be available to all gigs programmed over the weekend.

Full details on the festival, including other artists Jamie Cullum, Theo Croker, Judi Jackson, Binker Golding Quartet and Vula Viel amongst others, visit




For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4690

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4617 M. 07793 762 879


Notes to editors:

 Sage Gateshead

We present around 400 events and festivals each year for a live audience of 350,000, 6 million people hear our work via stream or broadcast and 500,000 visit our building, often national and international visitors. Each year we support over 100 musicians through our artist development programme and we work with 30,000 children and young people and 20,000 adults in our creative learning programme.

We are home to the acclaimed Royal Northern Sinfonia as well as our popular, annual festivals SummerTyne Americana and Folk on the Tyne. We are dedicated to supporting emerging artists, as well as established names, offering residencies such as our Summer Studio and Folkworks Summer Schools.

Alongside our music performance and learning offer, our iconic building, designed by Foster & Partners, provides the perfect venue to over 100 conferences and events a year.

As a charity, the financial support we receive from Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, Arts Council England and our donors helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music. Positioned as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation, our continued ambition for the future is to work to significantly to increase the number and range of people connected with music.


In our first decade, our economic impact was £283 million. We are for audiences, for artists, for the North and for the long-term. Everything we do is guided by our values: Creative, Diverse, Focused, Leading, Responsible.


Jazz 25

If you’re aged between 16 to 25 you can get tickets to any Gateshead Jazz gig for just £5.

Simply select the 16-25 ticket option when you choose your seat.

You may be asked to produce identification when you pick up your tickets from our Box Office.

Sage One, Sage Two and NRFH only.

Subject to availability.

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.