So the story goes like this… In addition to other gig performances, John had been working around the UK Organ & Keyboard Concert circuit during the early 90’s. He was consequently asked to go and play for the ‘Pincents’ organisation at Gunton Hall, Yarmouth for one of their festivals. The show was a storming success. So much so that John was soon invited to perform at almost every festival over the next few years. Unfortunately, the organisation had major ownership problems and went bust soon after the millennium.
The loss of this work and not seeing the friends they had made weighed heavily on both John & Jackie and so in 2002 they decided to run their own festival weekend. It was a tremendous success. The show sold out and whilst they had only intended running the one event, by the Monday morning many of the guests asked for another show. John asked the hotel management for available dates and the next festival was quickly arranged for the following September. These first shows were branded under the ‘Eastbourne Organ & Keyboard Festival’ name due to their location.
John was asked many times during the first year if they could also run an accordion weekend. He was unsure of the potential demand but as there were so many requests he gave in and so ‘Eastbourne Accordion Festivals’ was born. In 2008 John & Jackie branched out and ran their first festival outside of Eastbourne. With this, it made no sense to keep using the existing title and so the festivals were moved to the ‘Carillon’ branding.
It was with some regret John & Jackie decided to finish the Organ Keyboard festivals in 2014. This was due to the imminent family move to Cheshire and ensuing change of lifestyle. Their Accordion festivals continue and more information can be found on the Carillon Festivals webpage.
There have been many notable events during the 6o+ shows they have organised. Many amazing musicians and entertainers have performed for their audiences. Although there have been no weddings (yet) many romances have blossomed between the guests. Happy and hilarious events have been numerous and there have even been a few times of extreme sadness with the loss of close friends made at the festivals. The pair have touched many lives and it is this perhaps that brings the greatest gratification to them both.
Upon launching their festivals they decided to support the Winstons Wish Charity. Due to the loss of their own son Matthew the charity is very close to their hearts. Since the picture below they have gone on to take the total to approaching £14,000.00. All with the help of guest, friends and family. A massive thanks go to all that have ever helped and/or donated.