July in Birmingham usually means two things: a spell of glorious weather and the return of one of the best small festivals in the UK.
The forecast for this year’s edition of Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul Festival promises high temperatures, and in a similar fashion to the progressively more scorching British summers, the lineup for the popular music event improves with each year.
Moseley Park’s idyllic setting once again plays host to a festival that has grown in success and ambition over the past eight years, with the 2018 programme introducing a new ‘Off Piste’ area bringing together the likes of UK dance music guru Greg Wilson, Sam Redmore of Tropical Soundclash fame, snooker legend Steve Davis, and others over the weekend.
Those who fancy taking a break from dancing can do so in the new chill out area complete with a dedicated bar, where all four quarter-final matches in this year’s World Cup will be shown live on a big screen.
Aside from this latest addition to the site, the usual raft of global artists will be descending on the two main stages for an eclectic mix of fresh sounds and classic hits played live.
Friday will see DJ Krafty Kuts drop his exceptional brand of turntable wizardry, with hip hop legends Jungle Brothers, reggae legends David Rodigan and Jimmy Cliff all set to perform.
Lack of Afro debuts at Mostly Jazz on Saturday, and festival favourite Craig Charles and his acclaimed funk and soul DJ set plus brass-funk band Lucky Chops preceding a much-anticipated return of soul star Candi Staton, who takes Mostly Jazz into the evening with crowd-pleasers including ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ and ‘You Got The Love’.
Any Sunday blues will be banished with a programme of incredible jazz from a number of emerging and established acts, and the festival will be brought to a close with performances from James Brown bandleader Fred Westley and his New JB’s, vibraphone king Roy Ayers and disco veterans Sister Sledge.
The festival site opens at 1pm on Friday 7 July. Limited tickets for the weekend are available from the official Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul website.
Words: Michael McGhee