Duo flew combined 26,000 miles to visit 'fantastic' Derry jazz fest

As City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival fans go you don’t get more dedicated than Daniel Grant and Phill Wright.

By Kevin Mullan
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 12:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 12:19 pm

The two lifelong friends who are originally from England flew a combined 26,000 miles to enjoy the festivities in Derry over the Bank Holiday.

Phill jetted 18,000 miles from Auckland to be here, while his mucker Daniel didn’t have quite so far to travel - just the 8,000 miles from Arabia.

Daniel explains: “I’m in Dubai and Phill, he flew to Dubai from Auckland. COVID has been on for the last two years and he’s not been out of New Zealand all that time.

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Jet-setting jazz fans Daniel Grant and Phill Wright enjoying Derry.

“We decided we wanted to come to the Derry jazz festival. I know that sounds mad but this was our lads’ holiday.

“He flew from New Zealand to Kuala Lumpur and into Dubai. We flew via London Heathrow to Belfast and then got the train to Derry on Saturday.

“It was also an opportunity to meet up with a friend we haven’t seen in four years who lives in Castlerock.”

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The duo spent three days in Derry before hitting the road on Tuesday. Daniel says they were blown away by the festival and the friendliness of the famous Derry welcome. Suffice to say they will be back.

“It’s been fantastic, absolutely fantastic. Everybody I’ve spoken to who is from Derry - they all have something about them, it’s just the crack. I’ll give you an example. We just walked into this bar, Porter’s. We don’t know this guy and he just bought us two pints of Guinness.

"That sort of hospitality...it’s a wonderful place, just class and a great atmosphere. The bands have been great. The Jive Aces, I’ve been going to see these guys for 25 years because I love this music. Well done Derry.”

Damian McCafferty, of Derry Self-Catering Apartments, who put the lads up, said: “It’s 18,000 miles to get here from New Zealand for the jazz festival. I think it’s great they wanted to visit Derry. I was chatting to them and they told me Derry people are fantastic, it’s the best place they’ve been to, and the people are so friendly. That’s brilliant to hear.”