Derry Jazzes Up

Sax players and ivory tinklers from near and far get set to soundtrack the city's May Bank Holiday weekend festival

Derry is preparing itself for a magical weekend of music as thousands descend on the city for the annual City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival, which gets in full swing this May Bank Holiday, from Thursday April 30 to Monday May 1.

The event, which is supported by Diageo, fittingly opens on International Jazz Day, with a series of events taking place throughout the city marking the global celebration of the genre. And there will be wall to wall music in the Walled City for five days, as over 40,000 music lovers sing, swing, jump and jive their way through over 250 events taking place in over 60 venues.

Looking forward to the event Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Elisha McCallion said: 'The City of Derry Jazz festival is one of the city’s most successful events and it never fails to attract music lovers of all ages from all over the world. The programme this year is packed full of entertainment to suit all tastes, whether you’re a jazz purist, or just a fan of great live music, and it’s fantastic to see so many local venues supporting the festival.

'I will be holding a special collection for my chosen charity, the Alzheimer’s Society, at the free International Jazz Day event in the Guildhall on Thursday evening and I would really encourage people to turn out to offer their support. There’s no better time to visit Derry, and I hope to see you all out and about this Bank Holiday weekend.' 

The Guildhall’s Main Hall will be echoing to the sounds of some of the finest local jazz talent on Thursday evening, with music by the Paul McIntyre Trio, Gay McIntyre, George Hasson, John and Fiona Trotter to name but a few. They will be setting the bar high for the hundreds of top class international musicians who attend each year including Carmen Ghia and the Hotrods, Les Swingin Lovers and the Jaydee Brass Band.

Topping the bill at this year’s festival is none other than Jazz sensation Jamie Cullum, who will take to the stage at the Millennium Forum on Monday, May 4, supported by the young local talents of the St Mary’s School choir. A limited number of tickets are still available from the Forum for what promises to be a show-stopping performance giving jazz a contemporary makeover.

Bennigan’s promises to be one of the real hubs for jazz enthusiasts this weekend with a formidable line-up of talent including Louis Stewart, Charlie Wood, Robert Mitchell, Dennis Rollins and MOBO nominated saxophonist Camilla George.

One of the highlights of last year’s festival will also be making a welcome return, but don’t let the cops know. The Playhouse Speakeasy will be adding a touch of prohibition era intrigue and Gatsby-style glamour each night from Thursday to Sunday at 9.30pm - just make sure you know the password!

The Playhouse will also host some of the best local talent over the weekend including renowned modern artist David Lyttle, accomplished musician Paul McIntyre and his Trio, and the Tom Harrison band with their ‘Music of the Movies’ show.

Hop over the Foyle for a special performance by Brian Priestley who brings his Quintet to the Waterside Theatre, on Friday May 1st, featuring a fascinating Q&A session with Professor Frank Lyons, Director of Arts & Humanities Research Institute at Ulster University.

For more information on the full weekend line-up go to www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com and for all the latest news and event updates check out DerryJazzFestival on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @DerryJazzFest.