Jazz Fest ‘a colossal success’

Part of the audience who listened as  members of Lisneal College's Jazz Band  performed in Guildhall Square on Saturday afternoon. Picture Martin Mckeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.04.17

Part of the audience who listened as members of Lisneal College's Jazz Band performed in Guildhall Square on Saturday afternoon. Picture Martin Mckeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.04.17

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Organisers of the 2017 City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival have said this year’s festival is proving a “colossal” success.

Tens of thousands of visitors have joined local people at indoor and outdoor venue across the city over the past few days.

Meanwhile occupancy rates in local hotels, B&B’s and guest houses have reported solid booking figures throughout the festival, with the festival also bringing a boost to local pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Over the five days, over 50 venues have been providing over 300 live performances to packed audiences.

Alongside international stars such as Imelda May, Hot Chocolate and Robert Mitchell, festival favourites including Gay McIntyre and the Jive Aces were joined by some new faces like the extremely talented Joseph Leighton.

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Hilary McClintock said she was proud of the city and festival organisers for again exceeding expectations.

She added: “The City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival is without doubt one of the key highlights on city and district’s event calendar. Many people await this weekend as the popularity of the festival has soared over the years.

“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 ‘all that jazz’, there really is no better place to be than here for May Bank Holiday Weekend.

“I would like to thank everyone who made the 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 festival 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. The feedback 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. Attracting high calibre artists is very important to ensuring 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 economy. Thank you to everyone who took part and joined us this year and we look forward to what next year will bring to the festival.”

The jazz festival is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council and sponsored by Guinness and Tourism NI.