It looks as if Bramley may be invaded by Joe Stilgoe fans on 17 June as Rachel Barclay Smith explains.

Joe Stilgoe is playing at the Bramley and Little London Music Festival this summer and people from as far away as Cardiff have already bought tickets.  The name may sound familiar – the older ones among you will remember his dad, Richard Stilgoe who, among other things, appeared on Nationwide and That’s Life and helped Andrew Lloyd Webber write The Phantom of the Opera and Starlight Express.

Joe is no less talented than his father and has certainly inherited his wit and charm. He is a pianist and occasional drummer, a jazz musician and a singer, an actor, a comedian and a star of stage and small screen. Joe has recorded a number of albums including We Look to the Stars, which went to number 1 in the Amazon Jazz Chart the day it was released. No wonder he has been described as having “More talent than you can shake a walking stick at”

So, it is quite a coup that he has agreed to play in our village church of St James on Saturday 17 June. He is sure to entertain us with his modern twist on classic jazz. His songs are inspired by Lennon and McCartney as much as by Cole Porter and The Observer has described him as “A songwriter of uncommon originality”.

Joe’s journey has been an interesting one. His early ambition was to be an estate agent but he soon changed his mind about this and chose instead to go to University and study philosophy. But it wasn’t long before he realised he was spending all his time in the music department and he therefore switched to music. Despite gaining a 1st class degree he was turned down by the Guildhall to study jazz and so he took a rather different course and turned to Disney for help. He spent the next 12 months on Disney cruise liners, learning how to perform to a captive, and very demanding, audience.

He did go on to study jazz eventually, at Trinity College of Music, London. He spent those years immersing himself in jazz and hawking himself around the jazz clubs of London, playing wherever and whenever he could, the gig fees helping fund his studies.

He was by now proving himself quite the onstage raconteur, and was as funny in between songs as he was seamless during them. It wasn’t long before he was playing music on Radio 4 in The Horne Section and The Now Show, and appearing on TV programmes such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

Joe has described his perfect audience as “people who like a bit of nostalgia, a little swing, and a lot of authenticity.” So, if that sounds like you do phone or email me. But be quick before his fans in Wales buy all the tickets!   01256 541251 or


“Dapper, handsome and quick witted…
and gifted with dazzling digits”

The Times

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