THOUSANDS of jazz fans are expected to flock to Purbeck this weekend for the 25th Swanage Jazz Festival.

More than 50 bands will be playing this year, with the traditional jazz programme headlined by Keith Nichols’ Blue Devils playing early big band music of Duke Ellington.

Festival artistic director Fred Lindop told the Daily Echo he expects numbers to be similar to last year, and he’s keeping his fingers crossed for decent weather.

The three day event, starting today, really gets into its stride with the Saturday morning parade through town.

This year’s parade, led by Dave Brennan’s Jubilee Jazz band, starts from the tourist information centre on Shore Road at 10.30am, winding its way to Prince Albert Gardens.

Magnificent Seven, a new band playing homage to the early jazz masters and the swing era, are also set to perform.

An event spokesman said: “The Swanage Jazz Festival celebrates its twenty fifth year with a programme including over 50 bands that gives jazz fans in south Dorset the opportunity to enjoy a very wide-ranging programme of music.

“The strong programme includes many of the top bands on the jazz festival circuit and several of the exciting new young stars.”

A host of respected and emerging artists such as Amy Roberts, Arun Ghosh, Stephanie Trick and Ben Holder are set to take the stage.

Two marquees will be located on Sandpit Field, while other venues include the Methodist Church and the Conservative Club.

There will also be free performances at the Red Lion, The Crows Nest, The Old Stone Quay, British Legion and on the seafront. The festival takes place July 11 until July 13.

Visit or call the festival office on 01929 422 215 for tickets and information.