Summer of Jazz: Events Itanna and Snake Davis

By Carmen McLean


We spoke to founder of Events Itanna, Leeds Conservatoire graduate Esther Robinson on founding Events Itanna, and the impact of advice sessions from the Artistry & Enterprise department.

Why did you create Events Itanna?

I founded Events Itanna in the summer of 2020 and have since been planning events with my fellow graduates (and now colleagues) for Summer 2021. We want to bring Leeds back to life again with a line-up of live music events and bespoke corporate parties showcasing live music. My aim is to bring music into the heart of every event, whatever the occasion. 

How did you end up collaborating with saxophonist and Leeds Conservatoire alumnus Snake Davis?

I met Snake Davis in 2016 when singing as a guest for The Snake Davis Band at Caistor Town Hall. We have since worked together on projects during lockdown for his livestream events. He is one of the most in-demand rock, soul and jazz sax players in the world, having worked alongside artists such as Take That, James Brown, Paul McCartney, Amy Winehouse, Lisa Stansfield and many more. I have worked with Snake on three occasions now and have gained invaluable insight into his well-respected and good-humoured professionalism.

Tell us more about the support band, 2/22

In support of Snake Davis are 2/22, a UK fusion band with Soul and Afrobeat influence. Formed at Leeds Conservatoire, where Snake also started his journey in the jazz industry, the band has developed a diverse repertoire covering a range of genres. I was introduced to them by their lead trumpet player Grifton Forbes-Amos. Grifton played at my first ever hosted event (Level Up) at the brilliant Headrow House in Leeds just before lockdown took musicians off grid for a while! '2/22' consists of 6 members: Theo Goss, Tay George, Conor Thomas, Gustavo Andrade, Ruben Maric and Grifton Forbes-Amos. They are releasing their debut album this autumn. They are the perfect introduction to a night of soul-felt jazz music and are guaranteed to bring all the summer vibes to you!

What did you study at Leeds Conservatoire, and what have you been up to since graduating?

I studied Events Management as part of my Music degree at Leeds Conservatoire, during which time I worked with a number of bands and artists, organising live music events. After graduating in 2020, when the events industry had been put on pause due to the pandemic, it was difficult to jump into running events again and so I began planning events with artists for the following year. I managed to get some key-work with a health care company, which developed my knowledge of health and safety and the legal side of business management. During this time, I was able to focus on the business branding and getting to grips with running small scale events  - where and when government guidelines permitted.

'Summer of Jazz' is a great way to show that collaboration is embedded into Leeds Conservatoire, what was the process behind creating the event?

Definitely, bringing two bands and fanbases together - The Snake Davis Band, and '2/22' - both formed at Leeds Conservatoire - shows that collaboration never ends, especially after you finish your studies. I wanted to join two groups of fellow graduates together and,  since the city of Leeds needs life bringing back into the music scene again after a long year for everyone, I’m confident that they will deliver exactly that, with a night of vibrant jazz and soul music. 

Some ideas for this gig were developed in an advice session with our Artistry & Enterprise department last year - was it useful? What did you take from the session?

I would highly recommend the Artistry & Enterprise team if you need any advice or guidance on taking the next step for your career. There are so many industry experts involved who are very keen to see how graduates are getting on and how they can help. I spoke to the Enterprise team over a Zoom meeting last summer and gained valuable insight into starting up an events business (where to receive funding etc.) and have since kept in touch with the team.

What's next for Events Itanna?

Our long-term aim, using the range of contacts we have built up, is to develop Events Itanna into an internationally-renowned organisation, hosting music festivals and bespoke events. As a team we have so many exciting plans for upcoming events and I can’t wait to give something back to the city that sculpted my love for events, and contribute to the events scene in Leeds, setting a new standard for live music and festivals worldwide.

Book tickets for Summer of Jazz with Snake Davis

Read about the opportunities and support available through our Artistry & Enterprise department

By Carmen McLean

Don't forget, this Tues evening (1 Feb) is our Postgraduate Music & Performing Arts Live Online Open Event! Disco…
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