THIRTY five bands and more than 320 musicians promise to make this year’s Ribble Valley Jazz Festival the biggest and best yet.

The five-day event returns over the May Day Bank Holiday and tickets have gone on sale for a variety of shows under the festival umbrella.

A host of leading lights from the jazz and blues world will be heading to the Ribble Valley for the festival, including virtuoso trombonist Dennis Rollins and the Velocity Trio, the Snake Davis Band and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Clitheroe remains the primary location for the festival, with a rich programme of events and activities in the streets and venues of the town to rival many of the UK’s major jazz festivals.

There will be street closures in the town centre on Saturday, May 3, when a street festival will include a music marquee, children’s attractions, food outlets and live performances in the street.

New this year — the fifth time the festival will be held — will be a special jazz train, a poetry-meets-jazz session at The Swan and Royal, an additional blues venue and more musical workshops for aspiring musicians to participate in.

The hugely popular ukulele workshop, from which a group has emerged form last year’s festival, will also be returning.

Although Clitheroe will host the majority of events, Grindleton Pavilion will be hosting a performance for the first time with Scotland’s Camerata Ritmata on Thursday, May 1. Ribble Valley Jazz Festival committee member Gary Ward said: “We realised in 2012 that in order to develop a festival with real quality, family appeal and longevity, we needed to raise up a level.”

“Clitheroe is a beautiful town and a great place to spend a weekend soaking up the vibrant atmosphere that the jazz festival has to offer. We are proud of what we have achieved already and we are also very excited about what the future holds.”

Clearly organisers have hit on a winning formula, with audiences increasing year on year. In 2012 an estimated 5,500 people attended the various events. The festival offers a good balance between ticketed and free-to-attend events.

This year there will beofferings of modern jazz, big band, traditional, cafe jazz, western swing, gipsy jazz, easy listening, funk, dub, blues, soul, R&B, world roots, poetry and street entertainment.

Venues are spread across the town centre and are all within walking distance. There will also be pre and post-festival events in and around Clitheroe.

Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues Club chairman Geoff Jackson added: “The success of the festival is down to the great community spirit that exists in Clitheroe and Ribble Valley that has encouraged co-operation across the public, private and voluntary sectors.”

Rover tickets allowing access to all events across the festival weekend are available for £80 (£70 for jazz and blues club members) and individual tickets are also available.

For details of all events visit the festival website

Tickets are available from the Grand box office on 01200 421599.