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.
Fast forward to Sturminster Newton in 2017 and the festival has gone from strength to strength, attracting wonderful performers from all over the world.
Read more about Julian on the Back to The Shack website.
Big John hails from London and he makes the journey here to Dorset each month to support our UK Boogie Woogie Club. His attendance has ensured the club has gone from strength to strength in showcasing this wonderful music.
Since attending his first 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 plays two gigs at the “Stur of the Moment” café on Friday and 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 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.
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!
Born in Denmark in 1991, Lasse is a firm favourite at the UK festival, having first appeared here in 2008. Known then as the Danish Boogie Boy, he has now become the Boogie Dane!
Lasse’s early musical influences include Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis and Pete Johnson. Contemporary influences are headed by Axel Zwingenberger and a host of other European pianists.
In 2009, Lasse recorded his first CD, Energetic Boogie.
Since 2011, Lasse has hosted his own Boogie Woogie Festival in Denmark which has attracted a number of International performers.
At last year’s festival, Lasse played a wonderful set at St. Mary’s Parish Church, accompanying Outi Karjalainen. Outi is a Finnish classical soprano who has lived in Denmark since 2007. Despite her classical background, Outi has been exploring new ways of building bridges between the classical and rhythmical – when it comes to genres, music is always music.
You can see Lasse and Outi at St Mary’s Church on Friday as well as the Stur of the Moment café on Saturday. They will also perform at St Mary’s church on Sunday along with many other festival stars.
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 giving a Lindy Hop/Boogie dance class during the festival, see the events page for more details.
Patrick first heard boogie-woogie thanks to a Memphis Slim track on his father's record collection, "Boogie-Woogie Piano Styles" and after that kept getting admonished for playing boogie woogie instead of practising classical piano. However, it was when he heard the work of Ammons, Johnson and Lewis in his university years that he really started playing.
After taking a break for a number of years while he ran a music venue, Patrick has rediscovered his love for performing and with influences such as Jimmy Smith, Errol Garner and Dorothy Donegan has developed a unique hard-swinging, jazzy style of boogie. Patrick is no stranger to our festival, having appeared on several occasions. Patrick plays two sets this year at Comin’s Tea House the first on Friday afternoon and at midday on Saturday.
Mal’s guitar roots stem from the 40’s and 50’s and include T-Bone Walker, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, B B King, Guitar Slim and Chuck Berry. His contemporary influences include, Jimmie Vaughan, Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard and West Coast blues players such as Kid Ramos, Jr Watson and Alex Schultz.
Mal is best known for his membership of The Cadillac Kings although he has also appeared with Jerimiah Marques & the Blue Aces, and West Weston’s Bluesonics. We welcome back Mal as a member of this year’s festival band.
Helen is the compère for the festival, she is Director of Music in a local prep school. She studied music at Bath and has been a subject leader/Director of Music in various schools in Dorset, Wiltshire and London for 20 years. She is an experienced leader of workshops for pupils aged 9 - 18 and conductor of musicals, instrumental, orchestral, and vocal ensembles as well as composing and arranging music for both instrumental and vocal groups. She has particularly enjoyed travelling around the world studying music in Hungary, Bali, New Zealand, Australia, and the Solomon Islands. This winter she has visited Nashville and Memphis to experience first hand the history of country music and the home of Elvis.
We are delighted again that Helen joins us for the 13th UK Boogie Woogie festival as compère. She continues to be a staunch supporter of the UK Boogie Woogie Club and is a real enthusiast at clubnights, held on the first Monday each month.
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 last years' UK boogie woogie festival. You can catch Geert at the Swan Inn, playing two sets on Friday, together with a further appearance at the same venue on Saturday morning.
Brett started playing bass guitar in rock bands in his teens but it was during his college years that he was inspired to pick up the Double Bass by one of his teachers. His passion for the instrument grew when discovering the playing of Charles Mingus, Ray Brown and all the old jazz masters. This led him to wanting to study music more seriously, which he did at University, gaining a BA (Hons).
Since then Brett has worked as a freelance musician throughout the UK and Europe and has played at many well-known venues with many notable musicians on the jazz and roots music scene. He is currently a member of the folk/blues band ‘Back to the Shack’ and has been a regular face at the festival now for several years.
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 two gigs at The Sweet Pea Café on Friday and at the same venue on Saturday morning.
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.