Music and moorland combined for Marsden Jazz Festival

The Marsden Jazz Festival is showing what can be done to promote digital content to audiences by supporting performers in the process of digital music making.

  The performances took place on Marsden Moor

With the brass band world taking the first footsteps in creating new musical ways of reaching out to audiences with digital content and entertainment, the Marsden Jazz Festival, one of the UK's longest running jazz festivals, has shown just how effective it can be despite having to cancel their 2020 festival due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Different Time and Place

Their project called 'Chronotope: Music in a Different Time and Place' explores the ideas of music and its ability to transcend time and place.

The project is recording and filming artists performing in iconic locations across Marsden Moor — bringing the countryside alive with sound and embracing the visual and sonic richness of the landscape.

The project is designed to create a much-needed platform for artists, at a time when live music is difficult to stage, and to help Marsden Jazz Festival develop its digital programme.


The first artists to perform on Marsden Moor in July were Keeley Forsyth and Matthew Bourne, followed by Tom Challenger.

Singer and actor Keeley performed pieces from her album 'Debris', which The Sunday Times described as "one of the most remarkable in years", and was accompanied by pianist and composer Matthew Bourne on a portable harmonium.

Marsden-born Tom Challenger created a brand new piece of music called 'Geond', from the phrase 'over yonder' which used graphic scores and improvisation to draw attention to ancient and modern routes across the moorland from Roman roads, to an underground trans-European data line.

Iconic locations

All the performances took place at a number of iconic locations across Marsden Moor, a 5,683 acre estate on the outskirts of Huddersfield, including a performance through an iron door into a ruined pumphouse, performances in two quarries with 360 degree sound reverberation, and a performance stood atop a WW2 sentry hut with panoramic views over the moorland.

Recorded professionally by world-renowned sound artist Jez riley French the performances also included the varied environmental sounds of the moorland itself, whilst video footage from filmmaker Alistair I Macdonald added to the evocative presentation.

All the performances took place at a number of iconic locations across Marsden Moor, a 5,683 acre estate on the outskirts of Huddersfield4BR

Magical experience

Barney Stevenson, artistic director at Marsden Jazz Festival told 4BR: "Witnessing artists performing first hand was a magical experience — I hope that this magic, along with the visual and sonic aspects of the landscape that Jez and Alistair bring to the work, comes across in the films".

The Chronotope project by Marsden Jazz Festival, supported by Arts Council England's Emergency Response Fund, will run until the end of the year, with regular video and podcast content from artists who will be performing on Marsden Moor being published throughout that time.

Find out more

Full length videos of all performances are available via the website www.marsdenjazzfestival.com/chronotope

You can listen to the Marsden Jazz Festival podcast at https://marsdenjazzfestival.com/podcast or on the usual podcast platforms (Apple podcasts, Spotify, Amazon + Alexa, Google podcasts)

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