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Cornwall sings the blues at the Calstock Jazz and Blues Festival

Combine the stunning beauty of Calstock Village with a group of villages who are passionate about jazz and blues music, the result is a festival unlike any other you may have attended.
Now a firm annual fixture, the Calstock Jazz and Blues Festival takes place over four days on the last weekend in October, from Thursday to Sunday.

Calstock is a small village situated on the banks of the Tamar, surrounded by ancient woods on the Devon/Cornwall border. This boating community is the epitome of a traditional English village, with a couple of nice pubs, local shops and a tin mining history of which the village is rightly proud.

For anyone intending to visit the Calstock Jazz and Blues Festival, how about getting the weekend off to the very best possible start by getting a train from to Calstock, or arriving by ferry boat? A train ticket costs less than a fiver and the thirty-minute journey will take you through some of the most stunning scenery in this part of the world, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The whole village comes together

The Calstock Jazz and Blues Festival itself is quite extraordinary because the whole village comes together to hold the event and it would in fact make a great storyline for a film (if any Hollywood producers are reading!). Whether you are a fan of jazz and blues music or just want to experience a fun weekend away, this four-day festival will be just what you are looking for.

The venues for the events taking place over the weekend include the Calstock Social Club, the two village pubs, the village hall and the old chapel, so you can see straight away what kind of an event you are looking at here. It’s a refreshing change to attend this well-organised local festival compared to some of the larger music festivals which take place up and down the country throughout the year.

Workshops and concerts at the Calstock Jazz and Blues Festival

The Festival includes several workshops which are available to attend over the course of the weekend. Thanks to National Lottery related funding, they are either free to attend or only a very small entry fee.

Unless you live nearby it would be highly recommended to stay for the whole weekend and thankfully there are some fantastic holiday cottages in the area to suit all budgets.

The Calstock Jazz and Blues Festival starts on Friday afternoon which kicks off good and proper at the village hall and the old chapel, before moving on to the . Events for 2014 include a community sing-along, Claire Martin and Ian Shaw performing a tribute to Joni Mitchell, a new gig by Polar Bear and “Songs From a Small Train”.

Things to do at the Calstock Jazz Festival

Other highlights each year include gospel choirs, rhythm and blues, swing bands, blues soloists and dancing. Workshops include learning to jive, Jazz Kids and singing. There are plenty of places to eat including concession stalls or why not indulge in a Jazz Cream Tea?

Saturday and Sunday starts at eleven in the morning but it is all very relaxed. You can enjoy the workshops, concerts and events for the whole day or perhaps take the short journey to the ancient stannary town of Tavistock which is always popular for locals and visitors alike.

The National Trust property of is just a short stroll downriver for those wanting to enjoy a tour of the house, gardens and quay. Morwellham Quay is a full day out with some wonderful historic attractions. There are also some fabulous walks around Calstock that can take from an hour to the whole day.

Do you know of any other music festival the whole village or town mucks in and offers an experience that will stay in the memory for a very long time? We’d love to hear your experience of other jazz and blues festivals too.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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