Derry sets the stage for weekend Jazz extravaganza

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion pictured with Jazz legend Gay McIntyre pictured with the next generation of Jazz performers Jenny Boanca and Jonathan Black from Foyle College Senior Jazz Band as they prepare to perform in the 2015 City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival which begins on Thursday the 30th of April and continues until Monday the 4th of May. Full details of the programme of events organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council are available at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion pictured with Jazz legend Gay McIntyre pictured with the next generation of Jazz performers Jenny Boanca and Jonathan Black from Foyle College Senior Jazz Band as they prepare to perform in the 2015 City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival which begins on Thursday the 30th of April and continues until Monday the 4th of May. Full details of the programme of events organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council are available at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com

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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.

The extravaganza kicks off today (Thursday) and continues until Monday.

The event fittingly opens on International Jazz Day with a series of events taking place throughout the city marking the global celebration of the genre.

There will be wall to wall music in the Walled City for five days as more than 40,000 music lovers sing, swing, jump and jive their way through more than 250 events taking place at 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 with 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.

The Playhouse Speakeasy will add 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 1, 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. For details on any remaining accommodation deals over the Jazz Festival, contact www.visitderry.com