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Mayor: Sun smiles on ‘hugely successful’ Derry Jazz Festival

07 May 2018

Organisers of the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival have hailed this year’s event as ‘a huge success’ – and have been delighted with the plentiful ‘sunshine, smiles and stellar acts’ which have once again put Derry on the world map for its fantastic musical & cultural offering.

The festival took place over the Bank Holiday weekend, from Thursday 3rd May until Monday 7th May, attracting over 60,000 revellers to the city.

Enticing international artists like Van Morrison and thousands of visitors to Derry, the Jazz Festival – which was back for its 17th year – continues to grow with occupancy rates in local hotels, B&B’s and guest houses at full capacity, as people fill venues, streets, bars, hotels and restaurants to enjoy the hundreds of performers on the programme.

During the five days, over 50 venues provided more than 300 live performances to packed audiences. Alongside international stars such as Van Morrison and festival favourites Gay McIntyre and the Jive Aces, there were a host of new acts performing this year – Dinosaur, Heavy Beat Brass Band, Red Stripe Band, The  Ska Beat, Roaring Forties, Revolutionaires and Kaz Hawkins to mention but a few.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Maolíosa McHugh said he was delighted to see the city ‘buzzing’ over the five-day festival, and has praised the event organisers for again exceeding expectations.

He added: “The Jazz and Big Band Festival is such a huge showcase for the city and a key highlight of our annual events calendar. I was therefore delighted to see that the rain stayed away and the sun came out to smile on festival goers – which only added to an amazing ‘buzz’ in the city with a host of stellar acts performing.

“There was a thrilling atmosphere about the city centre all weekend with our bars, venues, restaurants and shopping spaces packed with people enjoying the spirit of jazz that has taken over us all since last Thursday. To see so many jazz enthusiasts, visitors and local people return home for this weekend is really heartening. It gives a true sense of what this festival is all about – fun, family, entertainment and top music! Indeed, there really is no better place to be than in the city for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made this year’s festival a remarkable success – our own residents who help create the unique atmosphere and showcase our hospitality to visitors, our local businesses and venues, the community groups and schools who took part in the programme, our sponsors Guinness and Tourism NI, Council’s events team and of course all the performers, who excelled themselves this year!”

This year organisers further developed the festival with outreach programmes in local schools and community groups, making jazz accessible to everyone, especially young people and older people in the community.

Andrea Campbell, Festival and Events Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council said: “It was great to see so many schools and community groups get involved with the festival this year. The feedback that we have received has been tremendous and I believe we have encouraged a few young budding stars, who may well headline future jazz festivals in the city as a result of the workshops.

“It has been a great weekend for all involved – with something for everyone! Indeed, I have been really delighted with the positive feedback from so many visitors and residents alike – saying that the festival is ‘nothing short of fantastic!’

“Attracting high calibre artists is very important to ensuring that the crowds continue to support the festival each year. I am pleased we have been able to achieve this, gain international recognition and help boost our local economy. I would also like to take this opportunity to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who took part and joined us this year – and I am already looking forward to what next year will bring to the festival!”