The rather unusually named Stompin’ on the Quomps is Christchurch’s annual jazz festival. It takes place in the park on the edge of Christchurch Harbour, aka ‘The Quomps’. Running for one day in August, from midday until 10 pm, it’s mainly about the music. But there is also food and other entertainment. Entry is free, but a suggested minimum donation of £5 is welcomed. In addition, there is a raffle to help raise funds for this unticked event.
I’ll be honest, I was looking forward to Stompin’ on the Quomps until I saw some drone footage posted by the organisers posted around lunch time. To say it was busy was an understatement. A heatwave during the school holidays coinciding with the first day of the Premier League football season means the world and his wife has headed for Bournemouth this weekend. Much as I love Bournemouth, on days like today, I prefer to remain in my garden with my cats.
However, with daughter no two’s in-laws visiting, I relent and we head off to catch the end of the show. The crowds fill the entire field, but there are a plethora of loud speakers spread around the Quomps, so you can hear the music clearly wherever you are.
People have brought chairs and blankets and set up mini camps on the grassy bank to enjoy the music in the sunshine. There is a lovely, chilled party vibe.
The whole site is surrounded by a ring of food and drink stalls selling all manner of goodies – we head straight for a Pimms stall. Once we have our drinks, we take a wander round the site.
At first, we can’t work out where the music is coming from – there doesn’t appear to be a stage. Then we realise that the band is actually in the bandstand (duh). Right on the edge of the Quomps, the Edwardian bandstand is currently home to Taverners Big Band.
We really enjoy the band’s performance, which is mainly instrumental, but they are joined on stage by a singer for numbers like Mack the Knife. The bandstand is surrounded by a ring of enthusiastic dancers.
The performance is excellent, as is the whole atmosphere of the festival. The live music continues as the sun sets over the harbour for a perfect evening. I’m regretting not coming much earlier in the day – a mistake not to be made next year!