Jane was CEO of the £150m turnover businesses owned by the Music Publishers Association, winning the Outstanding Contribution category of the Music Week Women’s Awards in 2018 and an Ivors Academy Gold Badge Award in 2019.

Prior to this she ran international business affairs at Warner/Chappell Music.

Passionate about access to opportunity, Jane co-chairs Attitude is Everything, co-founded Primadonna Festival CIC, is a trustee of Suffolk Artlink, and is a mentor for tech music incubators including Abbey Road Red and The Rattle. Her strategic consultancy business is Laffittes Ltd. She talks to Gina Long...

What is your connection to East Anglia?

My father was a farmer in Elmswell and I was born in the farmhouse, the youngest of four children. I went to Culford School and then moved away for 25 years before coming back when our children started secondary school.

What is your East Anglian heaven?

The vistas. Whether it’s the coastal bird spectaculars, the varied shorelines, a harvest sunset or the rolling landscapes.

What is your East Anglian hell?

Sometimes I think not all the events who write ‘all welcome’ on their flyers really mean it! It’s one of the reasons we have a special wristband for people who come solo to Primadonna – so that we can be especially nice to them, and so that they can find other solo travellers to hang out with if they want to.

What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants?

We usually like trying new places as we’re real foodies, but I have a soft spot for Pea Porridge in Bury given the excellent food and friendly proprietors, and also because its predecessor, The Chalice, was owned and run by my sister Ruth Bolton, and most of the family worked there at some point or another. It was a lot of fun and we ate very well.

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?

I like places because of their associations rather than their beauty, so Thorpeness Meare for family parties, Elmswell church marking the turn off when I used to come home, Felixstowe Ferry for the history associated with it. I could go on!

East Anglian Daily Times: Jane DyballJane Dyball (Image: Jane Dyball)

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

Hands down - Primadonna Festival. We’ve only been going since 2019 when 16 other women and myself tried to create a really welcoming and inclusive festival of books, ideas and inspiration. Already we’ve had such an amazing variety of speakers and performers come to Stowmarket, including Bernadine Evaristo, Sandi Toksvig, Monique Roffey and Self Esteem. This year we’re welcoming Abi Morgan, La Roux, Joanne Harris, Erin Kelly and Cathy Retzenbrink, among many others. We really try to create ‘the world as it should be’ for one weekend and we focus on making our audience feel welcome.

What’s your specialist Mastermind subject?

The sausage rolls of Suffolk’s delicatessens and farm shops.

What is always in your fridge?

Several jars of condiments past their sell-by dates. It’s a badge of honour and was particularly good in the early 2000s when I had pots from the wrong century, not only the wrong year. We use the sniff/mould test in our house.

What’s your simple philosophy of life?

Fortune favours the brave. It’s a very important mantra if you’re naturally cowardly like me.

What’s your favourite film?

It’s a tie between Oklahoma and West Side Story. Now a three-way tie between Oklahoma and both versions of West Side Story.

What was your first job?

I can’t remember the chronology but variously stacking bales at harvest, kitchen assistant at the Farmer’s Club in Bury, and relief cleaner at Bury Hospital.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’ve always told the kids that in a fire I would save my beautiful sitting room rug before looking for them. I think they’ve come to terms with it.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jane Dyball at the 2021 Primadonna FestivalJane Dyball at the 2021 Primadonna Festival (Image: Fred Reed)

Who do you admire most?

Currently my partner and kids in terms of how they’ve dealt with the global pandemic. My partner because he had to completely rebuild his travel visa company from scratch, and the kids because they’ve had to change all their plans and have still proved themselves to be resilient, optimistic, interesting and fun.

What is your biggest indulgence?

Cider and savoury snacks generally.

What do you like about yourself most?

That I’ve managed to retain a sense of humour. Sometimes.

What’s your worst character trait?

Total lack of willpower.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Snettisham beach.

Best day of your life?

I’m an optimist. I like to think it is still ahead of me, although I’ve been lucky enough to have some corkers already.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jane Dyball with Corrine Drewery from Swing Out SisterJane Dyball with Corrine Drewery from Swing Out Sister (Image: Mark Allen)

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Mushrooms on toast.

What’s your favourite tipple?

Aspall Cyder. I’ve said that quite a lot publicly. I must have earned a free crate by now…

Do you have a hidden talent?

I don’t have any. I’ve ransacked all of my talents, stretched them to breaking point and put them on show already.

What’s your earliest memory?

Falling out of the back of our mini van when my mum didn’t close the door properly and drove off at speed. Not my earliest memory but this is too good an opportunity for retaliation – it’s very basic childcare, let’s be right!

What would you like played at your funeral?

Elvis Presley – ‘If I Can Dream’.

Tell us something people don’t know about you

I love a bit of karaoke! But everyone knows that already.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

I worked in the music industry for over 30 years so I’ve got a very long list. But ‘why are you so focussed on the company’s five-year strategy, Jane, surely by then you’ll finally be at home looking after your kids?’ was one of the more printable ones. I got very used to being the only woman in the room.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?

It’s home.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

Primadonna Festival, which will be at The Food Museum in Stowmarket from July 29 to 31.

It’s going to be such a brilliant weekend. There’s something for everyone, with books and writing, film, music, comedy, DJs and therapies alongside our main programme of talks, interviews and discussions.

As well as familiar names, we give emerging talent a chance to shine, and offer writers and aspiring writers unique opportunities to get industry expertise and insights with workshops, advice surgeries, pitching sessions and a creative writing ‘Masters’ programme.

We are also, officially, Suffolk’s best festival – we were voted into first place by the East Anglian Festival Network this year. Come and join us to find out why.

Weekend advance adult tickets are now £85 and under 5s go free. If you are a Suffolk resident, look for our ‘Suffolk Sunday’ ticket offer (while stocks last) which gives you free entry on July 31. Visit primadonnafestival.com




I am always looking for interesting people from Suffolk and Norfolk to feature in my Q&A. Please contact me at gina@hallfarmfornham.com or follow me on Instagram @ginalong_geewizz