From the 1950s onward, jazz has played a lively and integral part of the creative world and social scene in Herne Bay. Following World War II, the sounds of jazz had filtered into the UK and over to the Kent coast, inspiring musicians and artists to begin experimenting with the new rhythms and ideas of jazz, swing and blues. In Herne Bay alone, numerous jazz clubs and bands were formed, performing either modern or traditional jazz. With these improvised, sometimes experimental and completely irresistible tunes, came the opportunity for artists to put pen to paper, paint to canvas, tile to board, to create new shapes, colour combinations and canvases, influenced by the loosened up worlds of jazz and swing.
In basements, ballrooms, and back rooms around Herne Bay, the sounds of swing, the rhythms of bebop and the tapping of toes could be heard from bands including the San Jacinto, the Tishimingo, The Heebie Jeebie Four and the Beverley Big Band. In addition, for over twenty years, an annual ‘Jazz on a Summer’s Day’ Garden Party brought Herne Bay’s jazz musicians and fans to the countryside of Hoath just outside of town, with both famous UK jazz personalities and local bands collaborating for an afternoon of fantastic music making. From day-long jazz festivals at the King’s Hall back in the 1950s to the weekly jazz nights at the Smugglers Inn, Herne, the Queen Vic, and the Ruby Lounge amongst others, local people have played, listened, danced and created art whilst listening to the sounds of jazz for over seventy years in Herne Bay. Now in its fourth year, the Herne Bay Jazz and Swing Festival has attracted large crowds to the Herne Bay Pier Stage to see some of the UK’s top performers as well as local acts. This year’s event also includes three days of performances at the King’s Hall in August 2021.
Our exhibition brings together new works by local and national artists influenced by the sounds and sites of jazz with the history, both past and present, of this musical form in our local area, including pieces created specially for this exhibit, show posters, photographs and film. We also have a specially designed window display and flyer by renowned artist and professor Sue Westergaard, a great fan of jazz music herself. Contact information for the new pieces are included with each item should anyone wish to enquire directly with an individual artist about purchasing one of the works.
From Saturday 23 October 2021
Climate change is an issue of local, national and global concern for everyone. As a seaside town climate change impacts Herne Bay especially through sea level rise, coastal erosion, sea temperature rise altering biodiversity, as well as heavy rainfall causing local flooding. Using our collection of photographs, artwork, postcards, newspapers and natural history objects this exhibition looks at extreme weather and climate change, from the ice-age to present day in Herne Bay.
The exhibition coincides with the COP26 conference in Glasgow and suggests what might happen to Herne Bay in the future and considers what simple decisions that we can individually to help slow the process.