SMFA Student Kyla Wight given Creative Directorship of Chapter & Lyric at 2015 Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival


This summer Kyla Wight, a BA (Hons) first year student in the Event and Experience Design degree programme at the School of Music and Fine Art, University of Kent, was appointed the Creative Director of the 2015 Rye International Jazz and  Blues Festival with directorship of a section of the festival entitled Chapter & Lyric. The festival is a unique and inspirational live music performance and educational project that encompasses both live performances and educational music master classes, encompassing Jazz, Swing, Blues, Soul, Latin, Funk and World music.

While Kyla has brought to this role a wide range of experience in the music industry as a performer and in radio, she claims it is her more recent time studying at the University of Kent that has given her the confidence to go for the job and offer a unique vision for the festival. “The course opened up possibilities of seeing how things could be, how connections and relationships can be made between a location, a situation and how design (in its broadest sense) can communicate a vision and offer a particular experience,” says Kyla.

Peter Hatton, Lecturer in Event and Experience Design commented, “This is at the core of our teaching. Students work on practical and live projects from the day they walk into the studio. The other aspect that is vitally important is to expose students at the beginning of their studies to professionals in the event’s industry, for them to meet, exchange cards/contact details and listen to the first hand accounts of the extraordinary range of ways of working, the areas of specialisation and the careers and roles available. From the first year of study the students feel they are a part of creative community that extends way beyond the University.”

Another aspect of the success of the course is the offer made by our graduates to current students of work experience and placements. Our alumni are moving fast through the hierarchies of creative agencies and marketing companies. Interestingly Kyla has rather turned this upside down by offering our recent graduates roles within the festival, as designers, prop builders, event managers and performers. The creative community continues to evolve.”

Kyla has created a festival within a festival; she is project managing the Festival’s Emerging Talent Event and is the creator of Chapter and Lyric presented at the historic Lamb House in Rye. This will be the festival stage for emerging talent showcasing both the writing and performing talents of musicians.

The inspiration for Chapter & Lyric was born out of the natural and obvious connection with Lamb House being the home of two distinguished writers of their generations. Chapter & Lyric is a dedicated music event that combines both music composition and song writing that will culminate in both live performance and educational Masterclasses. The bespoke performance stage will be installed within the walled garden at Lamb House positioned in front of the stunning Georgian external façade that will create a wonderful backdrop to this very special event,” says Kyla.

In the lead up to the Festival, Kyla has organized central London auditions for musicians to play at the festival. These have been enthusiastically hosted by the Grosvenor Casino in Piccadilly and became an informal networking opportunity for musicians, music industry producers, PR companies and staff and students from School of Music and Fine Art. Adds Kyla, “John Hornby Skews & Co Ltd have sponsored us by providing guitars for the backline and want to work with Chapter & Lyric in future projects.”
For more info about the Festival, go to

To listen to the radio interview with Kyla on BBC Introducing Sussex click the link:

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