St Andrews Town Hall Saves The Day For Fife Jazz Festival

After the shock news that the Byre Theatre has gone into liquidation, Fife Jazz Festival organisers, Jazz Scotland and ON At Fife, have moved swiftly to relocate their five St Andrews concerts to the Town Hall.

The Festival, which is now in its sixth year, was scheduled to promote five concerts at The Byre including exclusive performances by American singers Carla Cook and Champian Fulton; the world renowned Norrbotten Big Band, from Sweden; and a major youth jazz orchestra meeting featuring over 40 young musicians from Scotland and Sweden.

All of these musicians – and many more – are flying into Scotland especially for Fife Jazz Festival, which has a growing international reputation for the quality of its programme.

Roger Spence, Festival Director, said: “What a shock! And a sad day for a great institution! This is the most important and exciting Jazz and Blues programme we've ever put together in St Andrews and now our main partner in the town cannot host us. Thankfully the Town Hall has agreed to a last minute booking and made all the arrangements to make the venue available to us. Thanks to them, and we hope that out of adversity we can create a great new venue for the Festival."

Jazz Scotland heard the news at 2pm today and by 3pm were in detailed discussions with the Town Hall about the logistics of transferring the concerts: power, PA systems, lighting, pianos, seating, backline. ON At Fife has offered unlimited resources to help the Festival move the concerts to the Town Hall.

The Festival will be contacting ticket holders early next week to assure them that their tickets will be honoured in the new venue, and tickets for the affected concerts will be on sale from all ON At Fife venues as soon as possible – hopefully tomorrow, and definitely by Monday.

The concerts are:


The brilliant guitarist and composer has an acclaimed track record composing and performing music with silent films. Here’s his new project, accompanying F. W. Murnau’s German silent classic – and some say, the most frightening of all Dracula adaptations – with music for guitar and cello, featuring Stephen’s duo with cellist Ben Davis, leader of the Mercury Prize nominees, Basquiat Strings.

St Andrews, Friday 1 February, 7.45pm. Tickets £8.50


“A real presence! A mad-loose straight ahead jazz diva with a gospel soul, big band heart, classical cool and improvisational hot. And what a beautiful voice – warm amber-hued” (Jazz Times). “She isn’t a dewy blonde or a post adolescent waif, so Carla Cook would seem to be facing a rocky path across the current jazz terrain. But she can sing, really sing. Cook can cook!” (Time Magazine). All the critics say the same thing, here’s one of the great jazz singers of our time – from New York, for one night in Fife, with her great US Band: Darryl Ivey (piano), Kenny Davis (bass), and Willard Dyson (drums).

St Andrews Friday 1 February, 8pm, Tickets £12.50


From communities across the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden come a band of young musicians with a fantastic reputation for musicianship and high-quality performance. They knocked us out on their last visit two years, when they combined with Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra in a memorable finale. This time, they’ve got together to play some special music in a double band format. The concert will also feature the alto and soprano sax playing of recent FYJO graduate and young star of the Scottish jazz scene, Helena Kay.

St Andrews, Saturday 2 February, 4pm, Tickets £8


“The best new singer I’ve heard this year – make that several years”. The Village Voice’s Francis Davis is the doyen of New York Jazz critics, and he knows a new star when he hears one. What’s more “she’s a fine, splanky pianist” who revels in Tin Pan Alley – all the great old songs from the classic jazz era.

St Andrews, Saturday 2 February, 7.45pm, Tickets £12


One of the leading Big Bands in the world return to Scotland exclusively for Fife Jazz Festival, and with the renowned Michael Abene at the helm, present the magnificent music of Charles Mingus, one of the great iconoclasts of jazz. Deep soul, New Orleans, gospel music, Duke Ellington, and Thelonious Monk all influenced the most passionate and exciting of modern jazz composers. Michael Abene is one of the world’s top arrangers and directors, working for Liza Minelli, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, and BB King. The young musicians from the Arctic Circle play a short opening set.

St Andrews, Saturday 2 February, 8pm, Tickets £15