Hull Jazz Festival decided to shake up its activities in 2012. It persuaded the Freedom Festival to support and back the Yellow Bus stage, presenting a mix of local, regional, national and international artists and DJs. The Yellow Bus programme immediately caught the imagination of a large and diverse audience. It felt much more in tune with the times and featured Gypsy Hill, Kid British, New York Brass Band, Gypsy Jazz Legends, Bossa Revista, Liberty Skank and many local artists and DJs.
Meanwhile, the 10-day Jazz Festival at Hull Truck was headlined by the great US saxophonist Bobby Watson, one of Art Blakey’s original Jazz Messengers, but the Festival was overshadowed by the sad death of one of its favourite artists, Abram Wilson, just days before he was to become musician in residence.
This was to be the last of the traditional long summer festivals, as the directors put in plans to split the Hull Jazz festival over 2 long weekends plus the Yellow Bus stage at Freedom from 2013 onwards, to become more flexible and appeal to a varied and younger audience.
A 3-weekend festival in York to complement the Mystery Plays proved very popular and included sets by Ruby Turner, Snake Davis, Al Morrison, Jazz Jamaica, Pee Wee Ellis and the South African Gospel Choir.