COLUMN BY MELANIE PALMER, CEO OF SOLIHULL BID, WHICH FEATURED IN THE SOLIHULL OBSERVER
So here we are, thrown another curve ball in the COVID never ending release from restrictions dates and we are left juggling those balls whilst keeping an eye on our moral compass… I accept the challenge – the show must go on!
The Solihull Jazz Festival (16th to 18th July) is one of the highlight festivals in the region and this is the 10th year that it’s been tooting, jumping, and jiving. The Mell Square stage would normally be surrounded by crowds of visitors, enjoying the open-air music, bars and street food and some really rather talented dancers getting into the groove on the astro turf dance floor.
This year it’s a slight ‘needle off the record’ moment, we’re back… ish. Our stubborn resistance to cancellation means that we have taken on the challenge to go ahead with the festival whilst keeping everyone as safe as possible. The work behind the scenes on this has been colossally colossus.
Mell Square, the venue for the event, will now have over 100 picnic benches and 30 deckchairs. Let’s be brutal here with our guidance, if you manage to nab a seat you can enjoy the festival but groups standing will be moved on. It feels like a dystopian version of Dirty Dancing as we are required to ban any hint of a wiggle or jive to ensure we are COVID compliant. Jazz hands will be the order of the day.
Looking on the bright side, sitting in the sun (please), sipping on a nice cold glass of fizz, listening to some top musicians do their thing, tucking into the incredible street food on offer and being out amongst friends and family doesn’t seem too bad a compromise for a hint of normality and all that jazz?