The Jazz Trail will see hundreds of jazz, beebop, blues, soul and swing set up to deliver 417 musical performances crammed into five days from next Thursday, April 28 through to Monday May 0.
The Jazz Festival was one of the early cultural casualties of the COVID pandemic back in the spring of 2020 and over the past two years has been mainly a virtual affair.
This year however it is back with a bang, and once again the majority of events included in the Jazz Trail are completely free, making the live music experience accessible to everyone.
Derry’s Jazz Festival draws tens of thousands of revellers of all ages and the hotels are reportedly filling up fast as final preparations are put in place for the festival.
In fact over the past two decades has established itself as the biggest celebration of jazz on these islands.
Looking ahead to the festival, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said the Jazz Trail was the essential guide to planning the best jazz experience. “When the Jazz Trail programme hits the press it signifies the start of the countdown to the festival which we are so delighted to see return in its complete format this year. The Jazz Festival is the highlight in the calendar for so many musicians on the jazz circuit who are just thrilled to be back this year.
“It’s been a very difficult two years for anyone working in the entertainment industry, and we are delighted to be able to reconnect artists with audiences after such a prolonged period. It’s like welcoming old friends back to the city. Live music is the essence of this event, so to be able to fill our streets, hotels, pubs and restaurants with music once again is going to be a real joy for everyone. With so much happening I would really recommend picking up a Jazz Trail programme to plan ahead and make sure you catch all the action as it happens throughout the weekend.”
Performers return to the city year on year and now have their own dedicated local following of fans. Among the favourites this year are Mission Impossible, Mirenda Rosenberg, The Red Stripe Band, Jiveoholics, Buck Taylor, The Jive Aces and Harry Connolly Band to name but a few of the performers. New faces include Luke Thomas & The Swing Cats, Hyde Park Brass Band, NYJO, Kooskoos, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, Liberal Soul Band and Rusty Jacks. This year’s headliner is Irish blues and soul sensation Imelda May, who will take to the stage in the Millennium Forum on Monday May 2.
Festival and Events Manager with Council, Jacqueline Whoriskey said: “It’s so exciting to see the Jazz Trail back in action once again, and what a fantastic line up - there’s something for everyone to enjoy. This year thankfully Council’s events programme is enjoying a total resurgence and we’re delighted to be able to provide a platform once again for artists from near and far. Many of our jazz performers keep coming back because of the warm welcome they get in Derry, and I know that this year more than ever there is such a sense of anticipation building ahead of the festival. It’s going to be a fantastic event and we are so looking forward to seeing people dancing in the streets once again.”
Martin Venning, Diageo Northern Ireland, added: “We are delighted that Guinness is back again sponsoring the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival 2022. It is fantastic to have live music return to venues across the city and playing a key part in Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality offering. What a way to welcome visitors to Northern Ireland from across the globe and, of course, those closer to home. A special thank you must go to all the venues involved in the Jazz Trail - in association with Guinness. We appreciate their continued help and support both to Diageo and this event.”
You can pick up print copies of the City of Derry Jazz Festival Trail at venues throughout the City and at Council buildings or check it out online at cityofderryjazzfestival.com/jazz-trail
You can also find out about the full programme and the Jazz Festival return at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com