Derry Jazz Festival gets under way today

Derry’s Jazz & Big Band Festival gets under way today but plans for outdoor music trails in the city centre this weekend have been cancelled due to health and safety concerns.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 11:48 am

The May Bank Holiday weekend festival - now in its 20th year - will be entirely virtual, as it was in 2020.

It was announced yesterday that the Jive Aces are among the acts returning for the festival.

A special segment of the programme will see an array of local artists who have all played in previous Jazz Festivals showcasing their music online from the Guildhall, with three gigs per day over three stages from 12 noon – 1.30pm; 5pm – 6.30pm and 9pm – 10.30pm.

Eve Blair, Mark Patterson and Micky Doherty will host different slots and the performances will be available to enjoy live on the Jazz Festival website and Facebook page.

Among those performing for the live-stream from the Guildhall are: Dougie Breslin, Anne Tracey Trio, Joseph Leighton Trio, Jim McDermott & Friends, Superstition, Sensation, Palais Swing Band, Ursula McHugh & Dee Doherty, Andrew Monk, Matt Curran Trio, Barrie, Jaywalkers, Anna Nolan Quartet, Mindbenders, King Rat, Stevie & the Gs, Stephen McKeever and Leanne & Dan.

Other features include virtual performances from students at Ulster University’s Magee campus and from NWRC. Looking back on Jazz Festivals gone by will feature heavily in the programme, with a video covering that, while there will also be a documentary style film.

Meanwhile five talented young musicians from Derry and Strabane have been awarded a £1,000 bursary each as part of the Festival.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, with Joseph Leighton, Kitija Ernstone, Mark McLaughlin and Diarmuid O'Kane who have all been awarded a £1,000 Council funded bursary as part of the City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival, which takes place virtually this weekend. The project was also supported by North West Regional College and Ulster University. Also pictured, Andrea Campbell, Council Festival Co-ordinator and Leo Murphy, NWRC Principal & CEO.

The bursaries were open to any musicians of a jazz inspired discipline and the recipients are Joseph Leighton, Callum Feeney, Kitija Ernstone, Diarmuid O’Kane and Mark McLaughlin.

Speaking ahead of the festival, Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Council Brian Tierney, said yesterday: ““Like last year the programme will be a virtual one, but that won’t stop everyone across our district and beyond enjoying the incredible talent of our local acts.

“There is so much to look forward to and so many festival favourites that I know everyone will be excited to see.

“After what has been one of the toughest years that many of us have faced, having such a positive event to look forward to and enjoy is a great boost. This event will celebrate so many of our amazing local musicians so make sure you tune in.”