Derry closes the curtain on a fabulous Jazz Festival weekend
02 May 2023
The streets of Derry were well and truly swinging this weekend as the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival drew music lovers from far and wide for the biggest celebration of jazz in the country.
The event, which is now in its 22nd year, has become one of the biggest talent showcases for both established and up and coming jazz performers, both local and international. Early indications are that even more music fans turned out this year despite the showers as tens of thousands flocked to catch both old favourites and exciting new rising stars as venues across the city threw open their doors for five days of non-stop entertainment from April 27-May -01.
Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Sandra Duffy, was out and about over the weekend to welcome artists and visitors to the City, and said the atmosphere was electric. “What can I say – we haven’t stopped all weekend and I’m sure there will be lots of sore feet today,” she said. “The Jazz Festival brings out the very best in our city which is renowned for its love of music and song, it’s just in our blood. Our venues were packed to the rafters, and it was just wonderful to see people of all ages literally dancing in the streets, with al fresco performances throughout the town centre.
“I want to congratulate all our hospitality venues for making this event the huge success that it is, and of course the Council team for once again creating such a wonderful and eclectic programme of entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed the Festival from start to finish and I also want to thank all those who supported my chosen charity at events over the weekend.”
Among the popular acts featuring at the festival this year were Mission Impossible, the Jaydee Brass Band, Luke Thomas & The Swing Cats, The Jiveoholics, the Red Stripe Band and many more favourites. Serious jazz fans enjoyed an array of notable names from the jazz circuit including Gene Calderazzo, Hannes Riepler, Joel Frahm and Michael Barkley and Paul McIntyre. Local performers shared the stage with musicians from right across the globe and 2,000 local children even got in on the action with jazz masterclasses and performances at schools and in the Guildhall Square.
Looking back on the weekend, Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Aeidin McCarter, said it had been a great success. “Every year we keep our fingers crossed that we’ve got the programme right and that it will appeal to a wide range of music lovers. Once again we weren’t disappointed and the city was swinging from start to finish. We get fantastic feedback from the artists each year, and I think it’s a real testament to the festival that so many of them make this an annual trip.
“It’s been extra challenging this year with everyone feeling the effects of the current financial pressures – but the event provides a vital boost to the local economy as we head into the summer season. Because so many of the events are free it’s accessible to everyone, which brings its own benefits in terms of offering everyone the chance to enjoy the live music experience. Thank you to everyone who made it such a success.”
The City of Derry Jazz Festival is led by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Diageo and Tourism Northern Ireland.