2023 Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival Programme Announced

15 - 17th  September 2023 

Presented by Jazz Scotland and Islay Arts Association

The Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival is set to return to its beautiful Hebridean island setting. Now in its 25th year, this uniquely special event celebrates the best of Scottish jazz in unexpected, atmospheric venues including distilleries, village halls and churches. The rugged and tranquil beauty of the island provides a stunning backdrop to 3 days of intimate concerts and captivating performances. 

For the last quarter of a century the Festival has been at the heart of the Scottish jazz scene, inspiring new musical collaborations and cultivating magical moments; whilst offering an immersive environment for musicians and audiences to enjoy playing and appreciating world-class music.

An extraordinary lineup of musicians will grace the stages of 15+ events ranging from meditative solo performances in the iconic Round Church, to exclusive musical collaborations at the RSPB Centre, to raucous late night jams in Bruichladdich Village Hall. 

The Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival will also continue its proud tradition of promoting music and collaborations at the fertile crossroads of jazz and folk. With kitti’s songs of Robert Burns, Fraser Fifield’s jazz/trad crossover The Secret Path, and young stars Fergus McCreadie and Matt Carmichael who regularly weave traditional melodies into original compositions, this trademark theme of the festival is in excellent hands.

This year, the Festival programme features some of the most exciting and creative performers from Scotland, from the internationally-acclaimed Tommy Smith and Mercury nominated Fergus McCreadie to expert musicians Mario Caribe, Alan Benzie, Matt Carmichael and leading UK drummer, Sebastian Rochford. We also welcome guests from further afield including sensational New York singer, songwriter and keyboard player Michelle Willis, and innovative London-based trumpeter Laura Jurd.

The stylistic range of the Festival is excitingly wide, including a wonderfully inventive vocal take on the songs of Robert Burns by Glaswegian singer kitti. Top close harmony vocal trio The Vintage Girls will transport audiences back to the roaring 20s, whilst Alan Benzie’s Tribute to Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters are set to rock the island with their infectious funky grooves. 

Other Festival highlights include a solo performance by the legendary Tommy Smith in the island’s Round Church. As one of Islay’s most iconic buildings, the church’s sonorous and unique acoustics will provide the perfect setting for Smith’s rich sound. And Festival regular Fraser Fifield will present his brand new project The Secret Path featuring Tom Bancroft and Paul Harrison, giving a unique glimpse into the unlikely creative possibilities of the low whistle. 

Visitors to the island can enjoy all of this inspirational and creative music, as part of the friendly community who immerse themselves in the Festival annually while appreciating the virtues of Islay: the warmth of welcome, the timeless natural beauty, the deep cultural heritage– and the whisky. Thanks to our sponsors, Lagavulin, there are plenty of opportunities to sample a taste of Islay. And of course, no experience would be complete without a visit to Lagavulin’s iconic distillery for a tour and a dram.

Bookings open from 11th August at 1pm via this link