City set to swing as Jazz Festival rolls into Derry
With just days to go until the country’s biggest Jazz Festival gets underway, Derry is gearing up for a packed weekend of exceptional live music and outdoor entertainment, running from April 27th until May 1st.
The City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival has gone from strength to strength over the past 22 years, establishing itself as the biggest celebration of its kind in Ireland, with over 70,000 music lovers expected to descend upon the city in the coming days.
Preparations are well underway for the event, which attracts artists from around the world to the North West for this unique showcase, with live music performances in over 60 venues – most of them free.
Looking ahead to the weekend, the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Sandra Duffy, said the excitement is already starting to build. “Last week we had former US President Bill Clinton here in the city, a huge jazz fan, and he was really impressed by our Jazz programme this year. This week we’re back in the spotlight as the city becomes a stage for some of the very best artists on the music circuit.
“The Jazz Festival just transforms the place – it puts a smile on everyone’s face and brings music lovers of all ages together. It’s a fantastic event for the local economy, bringing visitors from far and wide to sample local hospitality and entertainment. With just days to go there’s already much excitement and we’re looking forward to a fabulous weekend.”
Jazz Festival Co-ordinator with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Andrea Campbell, said: “After months of planning we are now looking forward to welcoming the first artists and visitors to the City on Thursday. We have over 60 venues involved in the festival this year and it’s that local business involvement that really makes this festival so successful.
“Our local artists have such an important role to play and they really set the standard from day one of the event which begins with our Local Legends concert hosted by the Mayor in the Guildhall. Legacy is also a major priority for the festival as well, with over 2,000 young people getting involved in jazz masterclasses and events throughout the programme, inspiring the next generation of jazz talent. We just can’t wait now for it all to kick off.”
Programme highlights this year include the local Jazz Hubs in Bennigan’s Bar, The Playhouse and The Great Hall, Magee to hear from renowned artists such as Phil Robson, Hannes Riepler, Meilana Gillard, Paul McIntyre, Michael Barkley and Gene Calderazzo, all bringing the authentic Jazz experience to the city.
Outdoor events include the talent showcase on the Gay McIntyre stage in the Guildhall Square, as well as live music in the Craft Village. There will also be fabulous al fresco performances from Jazz Festival regulars the Jaydee, Boom Strutt, Hyde Park and Back Chat Brass Bands, as well as the DLD Second Line Prade, to look forward to.
The City of Derry Jazz Festival is led by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Diageo and Tourism Northern Ireland.
For all the programme highlights go to cityofderryjazzfestival.com