Julian Phillips (UK)

In 2005, Julian Phillips had a notion to create a festival of Boogie Woogie music in the small Dorset town of Fontmell Magna. He and other founder members brought together pianists from the UK and Europe and so the UK Boogie Woogie Festival was born.

Julian began playing at the age of ten but he was 14 before he became aware of boogie woogie. Julian began to teach himself how to play, listening to and interpreting the music of Jimmy Yancey, Montana Taylor, Leroy Carr, “Cripple” Clarence Lofton and Clarence “Pinetop” Smith. A feature of the festival is Julian playing his accordion, an instrument that blends seamlessly with the swing and rhythm of the music.

In addition to the annual festival in July, Julian, together with other members of the UK Boogie Woogie Club, present a monthly Club Night, showcasing local musical talent, both young and old! Club nights are held on the first Monday each month – why not come along?

His love and knowledge of the music is infectious and whether playing solo or performing with other musicians, his enjoyment of the music shines through. Julian has played in concerts and festivals in Europe and America and is highly esteemed by his fellow players. As a teacher, Julian has inspired many young people to follow his example and many of them will be playing during the festival, a tribute to his talent, enthusiasm and love of boogie woogie.

Big John Carter (UK)

Since attending his first UK Boogie Woogie festival, Big John has travelled more widely in Europe and always enjoys the opportunity to play boogie woogie with like-minded players. Always down to earth, Big John is very knowledgeable about the music he loves to listen to and perform. Big John will be asking his fellow pianists to play a new improvisation at his ‘Flavours of Boogie Woogie’ presentation, as well as featuring some gems from his own record collection.  

Big John hails from London and has been part of the city’s music scene for over 40 years. He has also been playing for ‘Tales From The Woods’ for at least 10 years and he is currently a member of the 7-piece Chris Corcoran Band, whose cd was voted best instrumental album of the year 2017. 

Don’t miss Big John Carter and friends in the “Flavours of Boogie Woogie presentation at the Stour Hall at 11.30 on Saturday morning.

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Patrick Smet (Belgium)

Patrick Smet is a familiar face in the European boogie woogie scene and an honorary member of the UK Boogie Woogie Festival “family”, having attended since its beginning in 2005.
His first influence was the blues of Big Bill Broonzy and he was also particularly impressed with the 1962 American Folk Blues Festival, featuring Memphis Slim and T-Bone Walker. It was later that Patrick developed his love of listening to and then performing boogie woogie.

Patrick retired from his full-time teaching career in 2008, providing the opportunity to develop his style by attending concerts and festivals and also hosting fellow players in his home. He has not only developed his style of playing but also his performance. He can be energetic, sombre, humorous and he is also an excellent accompanist.

Patrick has played in festivals in his native Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, our own UK festival, Laroquebrou in France as well as further afield in America. You can see Patrick perform a set at Comin’s Tea House on Friday morning and also with some of his friends at Sturminster Mill on Saturday morning.

Izi Onslow (UK)

Based in Dorset, Izi has been singing classically since she was eleven but didn’t discover Boogie and Blues until much later. This occurred thanks to Julian Phillips and Big John Carter, who introduced her to (amongst others) the music of Ella Mae Morse, Ann Cole and Ruth Durand, and since then Izi hasn’t looked back.

Izi has performed at numerous events and festivals both in the UK and abroad, and has had the opportunity to meet and perform with some of the top musicians on the international blues scene including Carl ‘Sonny’ Leyland, Jo Schumacher, and Laura B’s Band, amongst others.

Izi’s education in Boogie and Blues continues to expand. Drawing influences from a broad range of artists from Ruth Brown to Little Sylvia, she is swiftly developing a style that is entirely her own.

Claire Hamlin (UK)

Claire was originally inspired to play by the 50's rock and roll greats; Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and Fats Domino. The mystery of where it had all began soon compelled her to seek out the roots of this music, discovering the raw, addictive sounds of the 1930’s masters, Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons, lead to an on-going passion for piano boogie woogie, reflected in every gig....

As pianist with jump jive and rock n’ roll bands including The Alabama Slammers, The Alleycats and The Slammers Maximum Jive Band, Claire has played clubs and festivals all over Europe. She currently appears with roots boogie blues combo Booga Red, as well as backing many of the original 50's British rock and roll pioneers at the Tales from the Woods Heritage Shows in London.

Claire first attended the UK Boogie Woogie Festival in 2013 and this appearance will be her fourth very welcome visit! Claire will play at the Church on Friday and at Sturminster Mill on Saturday morning.

Jelly Germain (Cameroun)

Jelly is no stranger to the UK Boogie Woogie Festival. He is an internationally recognised tap dancer, performer and choreographer, whose interpretations of the music have always wowed the festival audiences. He has danced in many well-known shows such as Sophisticated Lady, Riverdance and Black and Blue, as well as his own creations, Mr Bojangles and Harlem Swing.

Jelly continues to tour worldwide, either as a solo performer or with his dance partner, Caroline Podetti. Together they have established Compagnie Showtime Dance 20’s, focusing on the decade rich in showmanship, music and elegance.
Jelly’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious and he continues to teach and inspire youngsters to share his passion for dance in France and all over Europe.In addition to his stunning performances during the concerts,

Jelly and Caroline will also be presenting the Tap Dance Masterclasses, see the events page for more details and also appearing at the Friday and Saturday evening concerts and the Finale party.

Caroline Podetti (FR)

Caroline Podetti has performed at the UK Boogie Woogie Festival over many years and is a firm favourite with audiences due to her infectious enthusiasm for dance in its many different forms. Whether it be tap dance, blues, Lindy Hop, jazz dance or modern jazz, Caroline’s energy and expertise has made her a popular figure in shows and festivals throughout Europe.

Caroline graduated with a State Diploma of Dance in France and teaches classes in many forms of dance. Along with her dance partner, Jelly Germain, Caroline is a choreographer and co-director of Compagnie Showtime Dance 20’s, celebrating the music, dance and style of the roaring twenties.

Caroline once again joins Jelly at this year’s festival. Their fantastic Boogie Woogie dance style, energetic moves and sheer enthusiasm must surely make you want to get up and have a go!

Nirek Mokar (FR)

When listening to the music of Nirek Mokar, it’s hard to believe he is a youngster of only 14 years old! Nicknamed the Boogie Woogie Kid, Nirek has been influenced by the original pioneers of the music, together with the watchful eyes and hands of boogie woogie stars such as Jean Pierre Bertrand and Jean-Baptiste Franc. He has an incredible ear and an intuition for tempo, fine-tuned by his constant desire to learn more and more and become better and better.

Nirek has “rubbed shoulders” with the likes of pianists such as Axel Zwingenberger, Frank Muschalle, BigJohn Carter and Ricky Nye. He has played in the Boogie Woogie Speakeasy in Paris – a venue unique to the music and featuring no less than 6 pianos! His passion and enthusiasm is infectious and his influences many and varied. Nirek used Youtube to improve his technique and it’s likely that others in turn will now be influenced by him!

Nirek will be appearing in 'Sweet Pea' cafe sessions on Saturday.

Geert van Bon (Netherlands)

Coming from a house filled with the music of the great boogie woogie and rock 'n roll pianists, Geert caught the boogie bug during a house concert by Dutch master Rob Agerbeek. A "few" years later his influences range from Ammons to Zwingenberger and from Jerry Lee Lewis to some of the Disney evergreens. He has performed at several house concerts in the Netherlands and made a couple of guest appearances while visiting the United States. Geert made his UK debut at the 2016 UK boogie woogie festival and played at the Swan Inn during last year’s festival. This year, you can catch Geert at the Stur of the Moment, playing set there on Friday morning, together with a further appearance at the same venue on Saturday.