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A brief history of Lostwithiel Jazz Café

Lostwithiel Jazz Café (LJC) came about through an accident really when at a loss of any idea about involvement in the 2014 LostFest by the Lostwithiel Community Centre, in an offhand moment we suggested holding a Jazz Café in the upstairs meeting room of the Community Centre known then as Rafters Bar. “What’s a Jazz Café “was the immediate response, so we said "leave it to us and you will find out on the day." See links below for some excellent pics of these first events in Rafters Bar.

We booked local bands and music students and compere Cllr Bert Biscoe. It was a packed house all day with queuing on the stairs. Some said that we should think about holding regular Jazz events, even a club.

Jazz Café at LostFest 2015

Jazz Café at LostFest 2014

And so LJC was born with a series of gigs and on one occasion a Sunday afternoon. But soon, we outlived Rafters, as demand was greater than we could accommodate. Not long after, and fortuitously, were invited to put on a gig at the wonderful Duchy of Cornwall Nursery Café where we have been ever since.

It was also necessary to have a Web Site to help us along the way, so none other than Iteracy Ltd developed and now run our Web Site and are excellent partners offering all sorts of inventive ideas and with an empathy for the subject.

Once a year, around September time we up stumps to Lerryn Memorial Hall and put on a gig there to raise valuable funds for both the Hall and the hugely important LAMA Community bus. This we now call "the dance gig" as it’s a great dance venue and the acoustics are brilliant.

All profits after expenses are donated to local charities and good causes. The latest donation was to the local Covid-19 Lostwithiel Volunteers of £100 for rubber gloves for the volunteers when delivering food and prescriptions etc. Take a look at our Donations Page to see who we have donated to over these last 7 odd years.

We established a few simple self-imposed rules such as no pop, no pre-recorded backing tapes, and quiet during performances. That’s about it.

As well as featuring the wide variety of Jazz genres we also promote Blues, Soul, R and B, Latin, Tango, Samba, Americana, Rockabilly, Duwop and have even introduced some Poetry readings. Dance and Comedy have got be on the horizon!

We try on all occasions to source local talent and it is exciting to learn that we have discovered a fund of great local musicians in Devon and Cornwall.

If you go to our Previous Gigs page you will find posters for close on 40 gigs over the last 7 years.

We are so fortunate to have on our team Mike Hawkey, a pal from when we worked for a living, a musician, and owner of his superb Bose sound System. His involvement and sound advice is valuable.

Neither can there be a better 'Green Room' for artists waiting to perform than the giant Tepee out on the Flower Terrace.

We are proud of our posters individually conceived and designed by local Graphic artist Mick Clough. We were recently referred to by a leading and highly experienced Saxophonist as one of the leading Jazz venues in the South West, wow!

Events such as ours would not exist without our wonderful VOLUNTEERS and we are blessed with some very good people, hand picked for their tasks, good nature and charity, thankyou.

As mentioned, we donate all profits after expenses to local good causes, so we were particularly excited when Annie Naughton of the Royal Fowey Yacht club introduced us to Barbara Sharples who heads up the New Air Ambulance Appeal and we were even more excited to eventually donate near to £4000.

This year we are due to support Cornwall Hospice Care, so we will see how the year pans out with due consideration to the current Pandemic. I guess more news later as it unfolds.

Annually, we stage our Marquee gig at the Duchy Nursery in or around August, and each year it grows and grows with two nights of memorable bands, performances and experiences, and now including a FREE and FABULOUS Jazz/Blues Jam right through Sunday from 11.00am through to 3.30/4.00pm and including a superb menu, bar and staff provided by the Duchy over the whole weekend. We must, however, wait to see how things unfold before we commit this August.

There cannot be a better place to spend a Sunday in Cornwall than at the DUCHY. How lucky we are to have such an establishment on our door step and so supportive.

It was about three years ago that we started to sell tickets on line at CRBO that’s Cornwall Riviera Box Office who have taken over our ticketing and headaches.

We are proud of the fact that every gig we have hosted over these last 7 years has SOLD OUT. In fact one gig sold out in 19 minutes!!!! Bragging rights allowed on this one occasion. I guess we must have been doing something right.

We operate a Subscribers Emailing Service where by providing us with your email address we can keep you up to speed on when the next gig is coming up and when tickets will be released. If you would like to join, go to the foot of our Home Page and follow the instruction at the foot of the page, it’s only a couple of clicks away.

When this Pandemic is all over and it’s safe to venture out and co-mingle and stick our heads above the parapet we look forward to seeing you at one of our future gigs. Stay in touch and don’t forget to tell your friends, neighbours and relatives about LJC, thanks.

With best wishes,

Stay Safe and wash your hands.

Lesley and Richard Bower MBE.