A music festival is welcoming world-class talent to Highworth for the first time next week.

The Highworth Jazz Festival on Saturday, June 1 is Ray Stephens and Martin Welstead’s first time organising the event. They say the majority of tickets have sold.

The event will have a wide range of musicians playing in various indoor and outdoor venues.

Ray said: “The musicians we have got are absolutely incredible. Even if you weren't necessarily a jazz musician, you would be all struck by the sound and the amazing ability of musicians.

“It’s going to be a spectacle to be honest.”

Ray and Martin previously sold out a launch event on January 26, with many people saying they “could not wait” for the festival.

The launch happened in the fourteenth-century St Michael’s & All Angel’s Church, where the festival headliners will also play.

Ray continued: “St Michael's Church is brilliant. People said ‘I can’t wait for the festival’”.

The line-up includes famous names, such as The Simon Spillett Big Band, “including a guy called Alec Dankworth who plays bass.

“These were amazingly famous people in the 1970s”, explained Ray.

There will also be world music, including Indian-jazz fusion from Jonathan Mayer, who Ray is particularly excited about.

“They fuse traditional Indian instruments with jazz and they're brilliant. I've been to see these guys and they were superb. So I'm really looking forward to that.”

There will also be Kim Cypher, saying: “To have a festival in this part of the country without Kim would be unthinkable.”

Ray wants the non-profit event to promote Highworth as a destination.

He said: “We're doing it for the passion and love of music, really. 

“Giving the opportunity for musicians to be able to play, be able to bring jazz music to the new audience, and support our town. 

“That is really the three key principles of what this is all about. It's not about money.”

Profits will be donated to music-related charities. The music will be spread across 5 venues centred around the High Street, with more than 19 artists in total from across the UK.

Ray and Martin are themselves huge jazz fans. Ray plays in his own band, Shades of Silver, and in Swindon’s oldest big band The Mid-West.

However, as their first time putting on an event of this sort, Ray says he is feeling the anticipation.

Tickets cost £38. Tickets, more information and a full schedule can be found on the festival’s website.