Venues throughout Derry are this week readying themselves for the influx of musicians, local music lovers and tourists about to spill through their doors, as the 2012 City of Derry Jazz Festival gets into full swing.
Last year more than 35,000 people flocked to the city to enjoy the talents of over 300 performers from home and abroad, and this year promises to be the best festival yet. Van Morrison kicks things off on Wednesday evening at the Millennium Forum, with the first of two amazing shows by the music legend – the perfect start to a jam-packed weekend of jazz, blues, soul and swing.
On Thursday the Jive Aces will swing into action, fresh from their appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, where they actually brought a smile to Simon Cowell’s face with their blistering performance of ‘Wanna Be Like You’. Supported by Holby City actress Rebecca Grant it will be a star studded evening guaranteed to get you on the dance floor.
Other highlights during the weekend include London based trio Troyka, Kitten and the Hip, Paul McIntyre Quartet with Jean Toussaint, David Lyttle and John Leighton to name but a few.
Meanwhile soul sensation Ruby Turner, supported by vocal harmony group the Swing Gals, are bringing a touch of glamour to the festival on Saturday night at the City Hotel. Also appearing on Saturday at An Culturlann will be Irish singer-songwriter Mick Flannery, who knocked no less than Madonna from the top spot of the Irish album charts.
Speaking ahead of the festival, Mayor of the City, Alderman Maurice Devenney, said he was confident that this year’s event would do the city proud. “As always we have an amazing line-up of talent from both home and abroad, and the interest in this year’s festival has been unbelievable.
“It’s a true testimony to the city’s musical heritage that so many artists support the festival, and return each year to take part in such a unique celebration of music. And thanks to the continued support of our sponsors, Guinness, people can enjoy over 90% of those performances for free.”
Derry City Council’s Director of Development Oonagh McGillion said the sense of anticipation is really building ahead of the event. She said the jazz festival was one of a series of major events for the city over the coming months including the Olympic Torch Relay, the Peace One Day concert and the Clipper festival.
“The City of Derry Jazz Festival is a great opportunity for the public to go out and enjoy themselves. The variety of music across a host of venues over the four days is phenomenal and there is a real sense of excitement building up ahead of the festival. It’s the perfect chance for us to showcase the city and its talent ahead of our City of Culture year in 2013, and to show all that is positive about the city and region.”