Festival Q&A:
Ben Beattie

The saxophonist plays with his After Midnight Band at Burton Agnes Jazz & Blues Festival on 30 June-2 July. He tells us who else he's excited to see

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Who else are you excited to see? 
I am very excited this year to see the St Lucian bands Simon has booked, as this will give the festival a truly summer vibe. As always I look forward to all of the wonderful bands that perform every year but there is a special place in my heart for The Alligators on a Saturday night in the beer tent for some after hours blues.

What’s your best festival memory?

That’s a difficult one to answer as there are so many to choose from. I would have to say getting lost around the awesome maze at 11pm with all of my band listening to the headline act, and all the wonderful hospitality I encounter every year at BA Fest. Or perhaps playing on the main stage as the rain clouds parted to bathe everyone in glorious sunshine.

What are your festival essentials?

I would recommend a good dry tent, a comfy camp bed, getting set up early when you arrive and taking a seat in front of the main stage to watch the sun set and soaking up the magical atmosphere as the festival gets into full swing.

How does playing a festival differ from playing your own gig?

I think the friendly atmosphere at Burton Agnes really makes the whole festival a pleasure to attend, not only as a performer but as an audience member too. It is such a nice place to sit and enjoy one’s surroundings.

What’s your favourite part of playing a festival?

I believe there’s something about a festival that captures the euphoria of summer arriving – a festival in winter just isn’t the same. For me it’s such a privilege to stand on stage and bring everyone together through the joy of music. To entertain and take people on a musical and emotional journey outside in the warm sun is the most wonderful experience.

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Ben Beattie

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