Countdown to City of Derry Jazz and big band Festival

Once again Derry will be the place to be for the May bank holiday weekend as the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival returns with five days of live music throughout the city and district from April 27 to May 1.

Monday, 27th March 2017, 3:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:31 pm
Local acts join Mayor Hilary McClintock and Martin Venning, Diageo at launch.

With the official line up now confirmed by organisers, Derry City and Strabane District Council, expect a wide variety of local and international performers, dance and all that Jazz as one of the biggest live music events in Northern Ireland welcomes world renowned artists such as Imelda May and Hot Chocolate to the North West for a fantastic weekend of entertainment.

Sponsored again by Diageo, the festival will feature music performances throughout the city and district with opportunities to follow the ‘Guinness Free Jazz Trail’ and take part in workshops and education programmes as Jazz comes to the community.

With the exceptionally talented Irish musician, producer and singer/songwriter Imelda May taking the headline spot at this year’s festival, she will launch her new music to a local audience at the Millennium Forum on Sunday 30th April and Monday 1st May, setting the standard high for the rest of the weekend.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock on launching the programme said, “This City of Derry Jazz Festival continues to grow year on year. Those planning to attend this year are in for a real treat as our events team have produced a very exciting programme of musical performances.

“This year’s event will once again excite the musical taste buds of audiences with a wonderful programme featuring a blend of classic and contemporary jazz, rhythm and blues, swing and boogie-woogie. As the city comes alive to the sounds of jazz, swing and blues they’ll be performances by a host of big names including Imelda May, Hot Chocolate, The Dream Band, Hugh Buckley, Liane Carroll, John Leighton and Linley Hamilton, to name but a few.

“With no shortage of local talent, there will also be performances from the incredible Gay McIntyre, Paul McIntyre, Johnny Quigley, George Hasson, Jim McDermott, John Trotter and Fiona Trotter. With these and many more acts, there is no doubt that this is the place for locals and visitors to be for the bank holiday weekend as our streets come alive with events for all ages.”

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. We know 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.

The City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival has gone from strength to strength and due to the high calibre of performers has established itself as one of the highlights of the entertainment calendar in the North West. A special thank you must go to the bars involved in the ‘Guinness Free Jazz Trail’ for their help and continued support both to Diageo and this event.”

With Jazz at the core of the festival, The Playhouse, Bennigans and the Millennium Forum have been confirmed as ‘Jazz Hubs’, where dedicated followers of jazz can enjoy some of the finest world class performances.

One of the highlight of last year’s festival, the Speakeasy Bar at the Playhouse will also be making a welcome return, transporting those who enter back to the 1940’s with music by Billie Holliday.

Andrea Campbell, Festival and Events Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council added, ‘The festival and events team at Council are excited to officially launch this programme and we are very pleased with the line-up. I’m sure this will appeal to not only our dedicated Jazz audience who attend year in and year out but also to a wider audience, as there’s plenty of entertainment on offer for families and music lovers of all kinds.

‘We are committed to providing a programme that profiles local musicians and artists as well as world class stars and have performances from local favourites, the incredible Gay McIntyre, Paul McIntyre, Johnny Quigley, George Hasson, Jim McDermott, John Trotter and Fiona Trotter.

‘There will also be the return of festival favourites the Jive Aces, Velocity Brown and the Hotrods and the enchanting Harry Connelly who have returned to the city on a number of occasions to join the festival and this wonderful celebration of jazz and swing.’

The full programme is available online at For all the latest news and event updates check out City of Derry Jazz Festival on Facebook, or follow the Twitter page @derryjazzfest. This event is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Diageo and Tourism Northern Ireland Events Fund.

For details on any remaining accommodation deals during the Jazz Festival contact