The South Coast Jazz Festival offers a wide ranging programme of workshops, performances, films and talks, spanned across eight days. Situated at the Ropetackle centre in Shoreham-by-Sea, the annual event appeals to a wide audience, with all ages being able to participate in some way.

Alongside the prestigious jazz acts, the festival also branches out to local schools, hoping to involve them in the ‘Youth in Jazz’ scheme. Julian Nicholas heads the event, incorporating the ‘Jazz for Juniors’ scheme with the ‘Jazz in Schools’ scheme, eventually culminating in a three hour performance of local talent.

One participant, Katrina Browne, explained how Steyning Grammar School were included in the festival. “Julien chooses which schools he wants, and then visits them. He helped us write a song that we would perform and improvise over, because that’s part of our unit for 'music practitioner' A Level.”

She described how they went on to perform at the festival, in front of an audience compiled of family, friends and locals interested in the event. “We did one as a whole class, which was the improvisation piece that we wrote ourselves”

She continued, explaining how she performed “another piece that we did in a smaller band, that was made up of half the class, which was 'Swoon' by the Chemical Brothers.” Her band consisted of drummer Tristan Smith, guitarist Oliver Cox and bassist James O'Brien, with Katrina as the pianist and also supplying vocals. “That was quite good because it was originally very electronic, but we performed it in a band situation with loads of synths.”

The final performances were met with an extremely positive response, with one audience member, Lauren Richards, describing it as “really, really good, and although I came for my friends, I also enjoyed the other performances as well. I would definitely go again, it was very enjoyable.”

Sam Lazenby, Steyning Grammar School