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Going Out

Inside Jazz on The Pantiles

by Charlie Bond

Inside Jazz on The Pantiles

Julian Leefe-Griffiths, owner of the Tunbridge Wells Hotel and organiser of Jazz on The Pantiles, spills the beans on this year’s five-month music extravaganza

Julian Leefe-Griffiths

What can visitors to Jazz on The Pantiles expect from this year’s season?
Another cracking year of excellent jazz, fun nights out and great food! The Pantiles really has got something for everyone; you can entertain yourself in real style, or just pop down for a drink. One of the nicest things about the event is that it’s where everyone in Tunbridge Wells comes to socialise with family and friends. The Pantiles is truly Tunbridge Wells’ front room.

Talk us through some of the standout acts to look out for
Tricky question – all of the bands are great but in different ways, and it’s really a matter of personal choice, but must-see gigs would be: Asha Parkinson; Derek Nash & Protect the Beat; Dino Baptista & Darby Todd; Coalminers; and The Fontanas.

The event seems to get bigger and better every year – why do you think people love it so?
We always look to keep the events down on The Pantiles fresh and ever-changing. Last year, we probably brought over 60,000 people to visit the area, which is a great number, but you can’t rest on your laurels. I think people like the familiarity of the jazz, and really look forward to that event. It is, however, great to surprise people with new festivals and fairs.

How does The Pantiles’ al fresco appeal create an even bigger pull for punters?
With good weather and a bit of sunshine, it can feel quite continental down here in The Pantiles. There’s a really good choice of different places to eat, most with outside seating, so whether you’re after fine dining, a pie and a pint, or tea and a slice of cake, there’s a good selection.

Why do you think performers and promoters are so attracted to the area as a hub for live music?
Great question… Well, let’s face it – there’s nothing else to do! Tunbridge Wells doesn’t have a large art centre or a theatre of any size, so there’s a great demand for good music and events in a relaxed and attractive environment, and luckily, that’s what we have at The Pantiles!