Derry City & Strabane - Local legends join Mayor for sensational Jazz Festival opening night




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Local legends join Mayor for sensational Jazz Festival opening night

19 April 2023

Join the Mayor of Derry and Strabane next week for the official opening night of Ireland’s biggest Jazz celebration, as the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival gets into full swing.

The Mayor, Councillor Sandra Duffy, will be joined by local jazz legends in the Guildhall on Thursday April 27th, as they sound the first notes of the world famous festival, which is set to attract tens of thousands of music lovers to the city. The event is free, but donations in aid of the Mayor’s chosen charity, First Housing Aid and Support Services, are very welcome.

Among the local legends set to take to the Guildhall stage are festival favourites the Paul McIntyre Quartet, George Hasson, John and Fiona Trotter, Jim McDermott, Joe Quigley and Johnny Quigley. They head an impressive line-up of local and international talent who will entertain the crowds during the five-day musical extravaganza, the biggest event of its kind in Ireland.

Looking ahead to the opening night, Councillor Duffy said she couldn’t wait to welcome the first festival goers to the city. “For me the first notes of the City of Derry Jazz Festival are just the sound of summer, and I am so looking forward to the opening night event. The Guildhall provides the perfect backdrop for an evening of first-class music and entertainment provided by some of our renowned local jazz performers.

“Over the course of the weekend venues across the City and District will be throwing open their doors to host a magical medley of music – if there’s a stage or street corner available, you can be guaranteed that someone will be performing on it. And the majority of the events are free, making it accessible to people of all ages. It’s a fantastic event for the city, which will be buzzing all weekend, with hotels and restaurants already filling up fast. I hope you will all join me for the official opening night celebration and get the party started in true style.”

The Mayor will also be supporting her charity by hosting two special ticketed events on Friday April 28th. Why not join the Jive Aces for a fabulous afternoon from 2pm, swinging into the festival on a wave of big band sounds guaranteed to have you up on your feet. If traditional music is more your thing, then the Mayor will host a dedicated Ceili and two-hand event led by acclaimed accordion player Martin Duggan, taking place in the Guildhall that evening at 8pm.

Among the top notes in this year’s packed programme are the dedicated Jazz Hubs in Bennigan’s Bar, The Playhouse and The Great Hall, Magee where jazz fans can 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 highlights this year 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 more information on the full programme and tickets go to