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Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival and the King’s Cup Regatta are the two most famous annual events on this Thai island, now one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. But, though each has undeniable merits, for jazz lovers there’s nothing like the annual Phuket UNESCO International Jazz Day festival in Phuket Town, organised jointly by the municipal office and Music Matter jazz club.
The jazz festival is a pleasure all round, increasingly so as it grows from year to year. Someday we may expect Phuket town’s jazz extravaganza ranked among the island’s principal draws, along with the beaches and exotic nightlife.
27 April 2016 will mark the start of Jazz Day’s fifth year, with major performances not only on Chana Charoen Rd, site of the fest since its inception in 2011 and home to Music Matter, but at a site yet to be announced. This year, the show begins on 27th April, and will include events related to the city’s new found status as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy – which in plain terms means there’s going to be some great food to go along with the music.
The municipal government extended a helping hand almost from the moment Kay Mongkolkaew and Jeffrey Sevilla, proprietors of Music Matter, broached the idea to Deputy Mayor Kavee Tansukhatanon. The deputy mayor is a jazz aficionado and has often helped promote the art: so the Old Phuket Festival always features a jazz band; a cycling association event at Saphan Hin earlier this year had one (Kavee is secretary of the club); and a jazz singer from Finland recently performed a gala concert at the Limelight auditorium. The rest of the city council also see the event’s value – and well they should.
Phuket has an opportunity to make a name for itself in music, and in this regard the Jazz Day concerts are central. Phuket is the only town in Thailand to join the festival, held in 196 countries and Antarctica, every year. It’s now part of the city calendar of events.