As with all the major international jazz festivals, it’s important to have some big names peripheral to the style in order to draw attention to the festival and attract a wider audience. Last year’s big draw at Cheltenham was Dionne Warwick; this year’s, it has just been announced, will be Roberta Flack.
Possessor of a magical voice and a mesmerising stage presence, Flack is best known for her soulful re-working of English folky Ewan MacColl’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and her equally slow and seductive follow-up back there in the 1970s, Killing Me Softly With His Song.
Roberta, who joins other big Chelt Fest names Jamie Cullum, Laura Mvula and Robert Cray, will be playing in The Big Top at 9pm on Saturday 4 May.
Also just announced is a second Jamie Cullum gig at the festival – the first one is selling out and tickets haven’t been on sale long. Both concerts are on Wednesday 30 April, one at 6.30pm and the other at 9pm.
Ian George, Festival Director, said: “That Roberta Flack is flying over from America to perform at Cheltenham Jazz Festival is a real coup for the town. We always try to programme global megastars and anyone who went to last year’s Dionne Warwick gig can testify how incredible it is to hear such a legend performing in the Festival’s own Big Top. Roberta’s show will bring even more star quality to an already stellar line-up.
“We always felt that Jamie Cullum’s concert was going to be a sell-out performance and so now to be able to offer a second concert is fantastic. Jamie loves coming to Cheltenham and that there is enough demand for him to perform back to back gigs is a wonderful indication that Cheltenham loves him right back.”
For more about these events and everything else at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, go here.