MUSICIANS from across the country are descending on a North-East town for its third annual jazz festival.

Headline acts Mark Nightingale and The Al Wood Nine are joining some of the region’s most talented artists for the annual Darlington Jazz Festival, which runs from today (Thursday, April 24) to Sunday April 27.

More than 20 bands will perform at three venues around the town - The Forum, Borough Road, the Head of Steam museum, and Voodoo Cafe, Skinnergate.

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The festival has sold out throughout the past two years, and organisers are hoping to see history repeat itself.

A festival spokesman said: “This is the third year the jazz festival has run and we are excited to raise the bar once again by providing a platform for both local and regional talent, yet attracting incredibly talented national artists prominent on today’s jazz scene such as Mark Nightingale and The Al Wood Nine.”

The festival was launched in 2012 as a tribute to well-known Darlington musician, Alf Hind, who died in 2011, aged 78.

The aim is to grow the festival every year, continuing links with local bands while securing big names in jazz.

Kicking off the event this evening (Thursday, April 24) was a jazz improvisation workshop, led by Matt Roberts, at The Forum, and Latin band, Burundanga, will perform at Voodoo Cafe, tomorrow evening (Friday, April 25) from 10pm.

Saturday will see headline artist Mark Nightingale perform a set with the Durham County Youth Big Band at The Forum, as well as performances from Zoe Gilby and Andy Champion, the Jamil Sheriff Trio, the Debra Milne Ensemble and Darlington Big Band from 1pm to 6pm.

Tom Stephenson and friends, Mark Nightingale and Durham Alumni Big Band, Alan Law, and JazzTones and friends will take to the stage at The Forum from 7pm to 1am.

The festival moves to the Head of Steam on Sunday, with performances by Jazz in my pants, Tyne Valley Big Band, The Slowlight Quartet, ACV, Djangologie, and Alter Ego from 11am to 6pm, while the Little Big Band and The Al Wood Nine take to the stage from 6pm to 9pm.

Tickets can be bought from The Forum on 01325-363135.

For more information visit, call 07538-772-368 or email

The festival is part of the annual Darlington Arts Festival, which is organised by Darlington for Culture (DfC) and runs throughout May.

Events taking place during the festival’s first week include:

Photography exhibition: Flower studies by Pat Maycroft in the waiting room at Victoria Road Podiatary, 15 Victoria Road. Runs throughout May. For more information call 01388-710876.

Art exhibition: Freepass art and textile exhibition by Catherine Howard at Head of Steam, Station Road, 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday. Exhibition runs until Sunday, July 27. Entry included in museum admission. Visit


Socialist literature: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists: 100 Years on: Cafe Create, Parkgate Chambers, 7pm. Free entry.

Art exhibition: Opening of month-long exhibition Satire is Alive and Well Living in Darlington, Cafe Create, Parkgate, 6pm.

Folk evening: Chris Sherburn and Findlay Napier play at Darlington Folk Club, The Copper Beech, Neasham Road, 8pm. Tickets £8. To book call 07890-006-208 or visit


Crime writing: Crime novelist John Dean presents a day-long workshop at the Friends’ Meeting House, Skinnergate, 10am to 4pm. Tickets £25. To book call 07889-554-931 or email

Art lending library: Runs throughout May at Crown Street Art Gallery, in Darlington. Free entry. Visit

Performance evening: Cafe Hippo: Palace of Varieties, Cafe Create, Parkgate Chambers, 7pm. Tickets £2 on door or pre-book at

Comedy club: Hilarity Bites Comedy Club, The Forum, Borough Road, 7.30pm. Tickets £10, visit

Jazz club: Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club, St Augustine’s Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, 12.30pm to 3pm. Tickets £10 on the door.