Across two separate stages on Sunday 5th May, the festival will explore everything from jazz, neo-soul, electronica, funk and hip-hop, and tickets are now on last release at a very affordable £12.50. Here’s a little interview with Yellow Arch’s Programming & Promotions Manager Spencer Edwins giving his insight about the festival and the jazz scene:
When did this day festival begin?
This is the first year we've done the 'Yellow Arch Future Jazz Festival'. We've been slowly but surely been building up to an event like this for the past two years and felt like we had reached the point where we could pull this off towards the end of 2018 when we started putting this all together. Let’s just say, this is the start of something we hope to eventually make much bigger!
Why do you feel it’s important to have a festival celebrating these kinds of artists?
There's been a massive resurgence in jazz over the past couple of years with some truly outstanding artists pushing the genre even further than before. Although this has gained worldwide attention, I felt like there were a lot of northern jazz bands that were going a bit too under the radar. This event is my attempt at trying to help regain some much-needed balance and an opportunity for the bands from Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester to show people what they've got!
Most importantly, it'll be bringing together artists who may have never met yet live fairly near each other and are all moving in the same direction. Events like this brings musical communities together. Who knows what could come from it as a result?
Any artists you think are really influencing and pushing the jazz/soul/funk scene in Sheffield right now, and can go far?
Sheffield's got some top-notch bands and artists bubbling away at the moment. I have a lot of love for Otis Mensah and Jackie Moonbather who I feel are creating something really unique right now. Also, a jazz fusion band called Flok who blow me every time I see them play!
Any Yellow Arch favourites in the lineup you’re most excited about seeing perform?
I must say I'm very excited to see Allysha Joy perform here. She's absolutely killing it out in Sydney at the moment with her band 30/70 and to have her over here to perform and see what the Sheffield scene is all about is very exciting! Also, a rapper called The Young Wizard, who's performed here a few times with the band Necktr, but will be making his Sheffield debut doing his own thing. But I'll be honest, I'm excited about everyone's set and the vibe that I'm hoping will be in the air all day!
Any upcoming Yellow Arch events similar to this you’re excited about in the future?
Yeah. Lots actually! May and June is a bit mad for us to be honest but here's my highlights: Thursday 16th May – Ishmael Ensemble & Waldo's Gift Thursday 23rd May – Me and My Friends Thursday 30th May – Tight Lines Takeover feat. Têtes De Pois & Skwid Ink
Friday 7th June – Riot Jazz Brass Band
Here’s a little guide on the acts performing throughout the day:
Leeds-based quartet, signed to Gondwana Records, have been around for a few years now and building on from the success of their debut album Icaros in 2017, they will be keen to perform new material from their new EP Owls released on April 26th. Expect a voyage of electronica infused soul as they play on the Venue stage.
Allysha Joy has had individual success after plying her trade first with Melbourne soul-hip-hop collective 30/70. Also signed with Gondwana Records, she released her debut album Acadie : Raw in September 2018 and recently has released a new single ‘Sip of You’ with hip-hop producer Tall Black Guy. The single showcases her husky voice alongside some trip-hop vibes, as she continues to push her own individual style as a pianist, poet and producer.
Leeds seven-piece jazz band Têtes de Pois released their Framework EP back in February to much acclaim, as this will give another opportunity for them to perform their powerful live set locally before a busy summer period of festival appearances. Part of the ever-increasingly influential Tight Lines label in Leeds, they mix their soul, afrobeat and hip-hop influences easily into a delightfully fluid set of bangers.
Another Leeds band featuring members from Roller Trio, Mansion of Snakes, KOG & The Zongo Brigade and more, Vipertime will be releasing their debut album Shakedown on May 28th after their successful All Our Heroes Are Dead EP that came out last July. With vigorous improvising amongst a bombardment of post-punk and spiritually influenced jazz, expect a lively performance as heard in their latest single ‘Augury’.
This Sheffield jazz trio released a trio of demos last July as they provide a melodic and upbeat goodness in their music. Having moved to Sheffield after studying in Cambridge, Burgoyne has created this neo-soul, hip-hop influenced take on the traditional jazz trio setup, and they won’t disappoint at all as they play on the Venue stage.
With a stream of single and EP releases since early 2016, Otis Mensah has been a mainstay of the Sheffield scene with his alternative poetic take on hip-hop. With a constant stream of consciousness on daily happenings, his lyrics almost come across as spoken word as his recent Mum’s House, Philosopher EP from November 2018 demonstrates his talent among a background of lo-fi jazzy beats.
The Manchester five-piece have so far released three singles as their funk-indie-soul sound offers a new chilled twist on the genre with powerful vocals from lead singer LauraELL. Single ‘Toe the Line’ gives an insight to the disco-inspired bass lines that push this band into accomplished live performances.
The hip-hop solo project of Nix Ward has a delightful mixture of jazz beats, poignant piano playing and insightful lyrics. Based in Leeds and also being the keys player and rapper in funk-soul band Necktr, The Young Wizard has also collaborated with Leeds’ LAUSSE THE CAT as his single ‘The Rat Race’ displays his commanding and confident ability to perform.
Being around the Sheffield scene since 2016, Jackie Moonbather released his first full length album The Month of May in May 2018. His soulful voice has jazz and hip-hop influences as he offers a nice serenity to his performance. Expect more chilled out funk vibes from his set on the Courtyard stage.
Expect beautiful vocals with jazz and soul influences from this Sheffield local artist.