The three day festival will run from March 20-22 at Guildford’s Electric Theatre and feature a wide spectrum of accessible jazz, funk and latin grooves.

The festival is being organised by Guildford Jazz a thriving local community arts organisation which runs regular monthly gigs at the Jazz Café at the Electric theatre and Guildford Pavilion.

Headlining the festival will be ECM recording artist and internationally recognised saxophonist and composer Iain Ballamy. Other major artists appearing at JazzFest ’20 include: the legendary funk trombonist Dennis Rollins; the Mark Nightingale/Alan Barnes/Steve Waterman Sextet; virtuoso guitarist Nicolas Meier World Group; latin jazz salsa band Heads South; award winning piano/sax duo David Newton and Alan Barnes; renowned jazz vocalist Pete Churchill and Gareth Williams, one of the country’s leading modern jazz pianists.

Alongside sets from these leading UK jazz artists, the festival features free foyer jazz, a Gin in the Jazz Bar evening, New Orleans Dixie Jazz from clarinet maestro Duncan Batchelor and a number of community events. These include a celebration of Surrey Young Jazz Musicians of the Year, a jazz vocal workshop and a talk organised in conjunction with West Surrey Arts Society on the early history of jazz by from broadcaster and bass player Sandy Burnett. The club’s patron Bill Bruford, the legendary drummer from Yes, King Crimson and Genesis will also appear in discussion with Iain Ballamy about their time playing together in the group Earthworks.

The three day festival is a first for Guildford Jazz, a thriving community based arts organisation which has been arranging regular sell out gigs since 2011 . Its founder, local bass player Marianne Windham commented:

” The festival represents a celebration of all that Guildford Jazz is about : bringing the finest UK jazz musicians to Guildford to play a wide spectrum of accessible music in a friendly club- like atmosphere. What’s new is that we expect to share that with jazz fans across London and the South East who can combine the best in UK jazz with a visit to all that Guildford and the Surrey Hills has to offer in terms of great countryside, pubs and restaurants”.

More details about the festival can be found on the web at and on facebook at
Booking for individual gig and day and weekend festival passes is through the Electric Theatre Box Office at

About the Festival Sponsors

Arcom – Head quartered in Woking, Arcom act as an extension of many organisations IT departments offering an extensive range of IT Support and business telecoms services including, cloud services, data security, IT consultancy, business mobiles, Business broadband, VoIP telephone systems & unified comms.
BDO – BDO is one of the UK’s leading global accounting and consulting firms. Our Guildford office is proud to be Surrey’s prominent accountancy practice, providing a breadth of services to growing, entrepreneurial private and listed companies, as well as not for profit organisations and high net worth private clients.
Guildford Community Lottery – a weekly lottery that raises money for good causes that help Guildford and its local residents. From every £1 ticket sold, 50p goes to a good cause chosen by the lottery player and 10p to Guildford Philanthropy
Stevens & Bolton – Based in Guildford, Stevens & Bolton is recognised as one of the UK’s most successful independent law firms, combining legal excellence with cost-effectiveness for businesses and individuals in the UK and internationally.
Other festival partners include official media sponsors BBC Surrey and London Jazz News

Unusually for a jazz festival, all profits from the event will go to local charity Guildford Philanthropy.

Guildford Philanthropy was launched in 2014 by Guildford Borough Council and the Community Foundation for Surrey with the aim of transforming the lives of less fortunate members of our community and addressing the disadvantage that exists on our doorstep. Giving opportunity and tackling need.

Guildford Philanthropy aims to build confidence and self-esteem by facilitating access into a working environment and by encouraging the development of new skills, thereby enabling those most in need to improve their lives. Primarily this is achieved by promoting the growth of social enterprise; not-for-profit businesses which provide social or environmental benefit to the local community and offer the opportunity to those not in work nor education.

Guildford Philanthropy also helps local charities, community and voluntary organisations to become more sustainable and enhance their ability to tackle need across our community. Guildford Borough Council remains a strong supporter and encourages local giving by providing match funding for all donations. Also, the Council has recently set up a Community Lottery enabling local residents to support Guildford Philanthropy.

James Whiteman, Managing Director of Guildford Borough Council, which runs the Guildford Community Lottery comments:

“We are delighted and very much looking forward to supporting the Guildford Jazz Festival this year. All profits are going to a truly great cause in Guildford Philanthropy, a local initiative which aims to transform the lives of less fortunate members of our community.

Events such as the Guildford Jazz Festival contribute greatly to the diverse entertainment held here in the town. Guildford remains the only town in Surrey with a Purple Flag and it’s thanks to festivals such as this one. We are proud to have such a rich history of arts and culture in the borough and we have played host to many exceptional musicians. We look forward to welcoming even more brilliant performers to the Guildford Jazz Festival. “