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New acts and popular favourites set to take Derry by storm for 2018 Jazz Festival

20 March 2018

The countdown is on to Derry’s favourite Bank Holiday May weekend celebration as details of the 18th City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival (03-07 May) are unveiled today.

This year’s line-up sees dozens of new acts confirmed and the welcome return of many favourite musicians and performers to the city for what promises to be another hugely successful festival.

Earlier in the year, tickets sold out within days for two performances by headline act Van Morrison’s performance at the Millennium Forum but fans are being reassured this year’s festival has lots of top acts for them to enjoy and bring the city alive with music and entertainment.

Among the new acts confirmed for this year’s event is Buck Taylor, renowned for his spectacular voice and likeness to the King of Soul the late James Brown; the hot jumpin’ rhythm and blues band The Revolutionaires; swing band Jumpin’ Up, who are travelling all the way from Italy to be part of the festival and one of the UK’s most authentic New Orleans style brass band The Heavy Beat Brass Band.

Other new attractions include the Jessica Radcliffe Quartet; Barrence Whitfield from Boston’s Rumble Club; an eight-piece ska/reggae band from London called The Dualers; Irish jazz and folk singer, Mary Coughlan; the Swing Cats, Darren Beckett Trio and much much more.

Regular festival go-ers will be delighted to hear that many of their jazz favourites such as (The Red Stripe Band, The Ska Beat, Jiveoholics, Cat Scratch Fever Featuring Western Valley Hot Club, Paddy Sherlock and Les Swinging Lovers, The Jive Aces and Harry Connolly Band)  will be making a welcome return to the festival, bringing with them their unique style of musical performance and personality.

In addition to live performances at key locations across the city, festival organisers are delighted to announce a number of new elements to the festival including a new jazz hub at the Great Hall Magee, a bespoke Jazz Show, a North West Show Band Exhibition and a Dance Hall Days celebration event.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Maolíosa McHugh is excited about this year’s event. He said: “I am very impressed with the calibre and mix of musical acts travelling to the city from all over the world to perform at the festival. Year after year and this festival just gets better every time with live music at venues across the city making it totally accessible for everyone to enjoy. I particularly like the way in which the festival, while focusing on jazz also offers a range of music genres, and that it has branched out to get young people involved and to include other events such as the show band exhibition and a Jazz show. I hope the festival is another great success and would encourage family and friends from all over the North West and away from home to come along and be part of this wonderful celebration.”

Andrea Campbell is event co-ordinator with Derry City and Strabane District Council who organise the festival. She says this year’s festival has a number of new elements aimed at broadening the audience appeal and attracting new followers.

“We are really delighted to be involved in a new Jazz Show entitled “Chezzie’s Chance” that is written and directed by local playwright Dave Duggan and produced by Jonathan Burgess, in partnership with the festival and Blue Eagle. It’s a fantastically funny jazz comedy featuring act trumpeter Linley Hamilton that will be premiered to Derry audiences during the festival at the Millennium Forum before embarking on a tour of Ireland.

“Other new elements of the festival that are worth highlighting include the establishment of a new Jazz Hub at the Great Hall Magee that will complement the work already being done by the Playhouse and Bennigan’s Bar to showcase jazz talent during the festival. To link in with the North West Showband Exhibition that is taking place during the festival in the Guildhall, we are organising a Dance Hall days to celebrate the music and dance of times gone by. This event will be held on Saturday 05 May at the Guildhall and is expected to be a huge hit with music lovers near and far.

“All in all we have a tremendous line up of musical entertainment that will keep audiences jiving and dancing into the wee small hours and we are really excited about getting the programme out into the shops and pubs over the coming weeks to build up excitement and anticipation for the festival.

This year’s festival is funded and supported by Diageo. Martin Venning, Diageo Northern Ireland, added; “At Diageo we are committed to playing our part in helping to expand Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality offering. Our iconic brands, such as Guinness, are loved by holiday makers and locals alike and this festival provides a great opportunity to welcome visitors from across the globe and, of course, those closer to home.

The City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival is coming of age in a spectacular way this year and there really is something for everyone. A special thank you must once again go to all the bars involved in the Guinness Music Trail for their continued help and support both to Diageo and this event.”

For full details of the jazz festival line-up and to download a copy of the programme visit www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DerryJazzFestival and Twitter @DerryJazzFest for regular updates.