Jazz at Little Witley

Little Witley burst on to the jazz scene on May 1st 1981 with a gig featuring Zenith Hot Stompers, a band which has returned to entertain us in no fewer than 33 occassions. Since then a total of 87 bands from Europe, the USA and various European countries as well as the UK have strutted their stuff at Little Witley Village Hall – known affectionately as ‘The Black Chicken Hut’ in its earlier days – on well over 300 occasions. List of previous events

The driving force behind all of these events has been Vernon and Veronica Ashley. Not only have they booked all the bands, publicised the gigs, manned the box office and on the day of the event provided the renowned Little Witley ploughman’s supper, but they have also organised teams of villagers to man the kitchen, bar and car park. Vernon and Veronica frequently used their own home for bed and breakfast for up to seven musicians! So it is with good reason that Vernon and Veronica have become affectionately known as Mr & Mrs Little Witley Jazz. Vernon and Veronica share their memories on a recording on the Witleys Oral History website.

In its heyday during the 90’s and the early 2000’s the jazz club hosted monthly events and drew audiences from throughout the Midlands and further afield. Such was Little Witley Jazz’s popularity that celebrities such as the late great Humphrey Lyttelton and Kenny Ball appeared on the club’s programme.

The last jazz event held at the Hall was the Freetime Old Dixie Jass Band on Friday 6th April 2018.

Please see the photo gallery below for a selection of some of the bands performing.

Credit for the photos to Vernon & Veronica Ashley

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