In an exclusive interview, international jazz singing sensation Clare Teal talks to NIGEL KERTON about how she has never looked back since her first appearance at the festival in 2002.

“I took Jamie’s place because he was called off on a cruise,” said the Yorkshire-born singer, who has been back virtually every year since, although Wiltshire-boy Cullum has never played at the festival. .

Her first gig at Marlborough was in what she called “a ginnell”, a northern word for a passageway!

It was, in fact, in the Hughenden Yard shopping precinct but it was an open-air performance and the start of a long and continuing relationship with Marlbor-ough.

Now, rather than singing to dozens at the festival, she sings to hundreds packed into a marquee in the town gardens. You can catch her on Sunday at from 2pm.

She said Marlborough remained one of her favourite regular bookings that she eagerly looked forward to.

Teal won a massive recording contract with Sony within two years of her first appearance at Marlborough, but despite playing to massive audiences all over the UK and in Europe, she said she loves nothing better than returning to Marlborough.

Speaking on her mobile phone while travelling across London to appear at the Royal Festival Hall, Teal said: “What I particularly like about appearing at festivals like Marlborough’s is that I look out and see a whole cross section of the community, young people, old people and everyone else in between.

“Without festivals like Marlborough’s many youngsters would not have access to this kind of music.”

The jazz singer said she was delighted to have made a discovery of her own last year, St John’s schoolboy Ben Cippola who was busking in the High Street and who, with her encouragement, will appear on Friday night with his own band.

Other festival favourites include the irrepressible Red Stripe Band led by zany Neil Drinkwater, who have been bringing their inimitable swinging boogie-woogie, jive and good old fashioned rock and roll to Marlborough for many years.

The festival would not be complete without Red Stripe who this year can be seen in the Priory Marquee on Friday rom 7-9pm and on Saturday from 12.30-2.30pm at the Brewin Dolphin Bandstand in the Castle and Ball Hotel car park.

Other old favourites include clarinet maestro Pete Allen with his band who played in Marlborough at a jazz club at the former Five Alls pub back in the 1990s. This year he will play on Friday from 9.30pm at the ASK restaurant.

Ever-popular Sticky Wicket and his Swing Orchestra will take the stage at noon in the Priory Marquee on Saturday and he will be followed by one of the festival’s newcomers for 2014, the Bratislava Hot Serenaders, an 18-piece orchestra who bring with them the Surrenders Sisters trio.

No MIJF would be complete without Chris Jagger (brother of Mick) and his Atcha Band playing at the Brewin Dolphin Bandstand from 7-9pm on Saturday and Steve Big Man Clayton who plays at the same venue both on Friday, 9.30-11.30pm, and on Saturday, 10pm-midnight.

Organiser Nick Fogg: “To continue being successful we have to change and we try to have a turnover of about one-third new bands each year.”