City still buzzing from jazz fest

NO FEE FOR REPRODUCTION''�/Lorcan Doherty Photography - April 30th 2011. ''The Mark McKnight Quartet playing in the Culturlann Ui Chanain during the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.''Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography
NO FEE FOR REPRODUCTION''�/Lorcan Doherty Photography - April 30th 2011. ''The Mark McKnight Quartet playing in the Culturlann Ui Chanain during the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.''Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography
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The 2011 City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival has been hailed as the most successful ever.

Over the weekend, as the city basked in brilliant sunshine, thousands of jazz lovers enjoyed a range of local, national and international acts.

Mayor of Derry Colum Eastwood hailed the event as an example of what can be achieved in the city.

“Once again, the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival has exceeded our already high expectations of it,” he said.

“It is a top class event which brings a real buzz to the city.

“The festival highlights all that is best about our city and sets a bench mark for festivals all over Ireland.

“Walking about the streets over the weekend, the music was pervasive and the sense of fun and optimism irresistible.

“The 30,000-plus visitors that it attracted and local residents enjoyed the music in equal measure.”

The Mayor says the jazz festival sets a “Blue Riband” standard.

“Over the next couple of years, as we approach the City of Culture celebrations, we will, hopefully, see many events of this calibre come to our city,” he said.

Festival co-ordinator Johnny Murray believes the 2011 festival continued to reach the high standards that the public have come to expect from this showpiece event.

“With the fantastic line-up of artists we had in place, and the city’s innate musical nature, we always we knew that this 10th festival was going to be a success,” he said.

“But I have to admit that the weather has really put the cherry on top.

“I think the party atmosphere was evident everywhere around the city from the big ticket events like Jools Holland to the many, many free gigs in the cafes, clubs and pubs as well as the live performances in Guildhall Square.”

Since the festival’s humble beginnings, it has now grown into one of the flagship festivals in the country.

Over the years, it has attracted some top names including Van Morrison, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Courtney Pine, Kyle Eastwood, Curtis Stigers, Acker Bilk, George Melly, Kenny Ball, Georgie Fame, Humphrey Lyttleton, Bill Wyman, Louis Stewart, Soweto Kinch and, not forgetting Jools Holland, who headlined this year’s event.

More than 500 musicians performed in the city over the weekend, playing 260 events at 76 venues.

The programme included music for all tastes - jump jive, swing, blues, soul, be-bop, Dixieland, modern and big band.

There were also a number of workshops and a series of special charity events.