Derry’s Jazz Festival reigns supreme

Musicians who took part in the DLD Second Line Jazz Parade at the weekend as part of the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival. Picture Martin McKeown. 4.5.13
Musicians who took part in the DLD Second Line Jazz Parade at the weekend as part of the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival. Picture Martin McKeown. 4.5.13

As the glittery-dust settles on what was undoubtedly the biggest and best Jazz Festival ever, Derry should feel immense pride in itself for showcasing such a vibrant, memorable event to the wider world.

It may be in its 12th year, but the popularity of the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival shows no signs of waning. Figures suggest as many as 35,000 music lovers took to the streets in pursuit of the perfect medley of music on the Guinness Jazz Trail, which this year featured over 80 venues and over 200 musicians.

Likewise, local bars, hotels and restaurants were packed to the rafters over the course of the five-day event, as people flocked to enjoy the huge selection of entertainment on offer. Indeed, early figures show hotel occupancy rates in the city were high throughout the festival, with Saturday night reporting 100% occupancy across the board! Derry was truly THE place to be over the May Bank Holiday.

Yellow-suited festival stalwarts The Jive Aces have praised the city’s premier music event, sending a special letter of thanks to the ‘Derry Journal’ this week.

“This was our 11th year at the festival and I think it was the biggest success ever,” the letter reads. “There were more acts than ever and all our shows were absolutely jam packed and from what I hear so were the other gigs and concerts from the wee pubs to our friends, the Puppini Sisters, in the culture venue. I think it was especially big due to Derry being the City of Culture 2013, and we are so proud to be part of it.”

The Jive Aces also noted a sea-change in the city during their 11 years visiting the festival.

“We have seen the festival and the City grow and blossom, and also change any perception of Derry as a ‘city of conflict’ to THE City of Culture! Well done to all involved, both on the front lines and behind the scenes!”

Derry’s Mayor, Kevin Campbell, was also delighted at the outstanding success of this year’s festival - precursor to an exceptional summer to come.

“I’m thrilled at how well the Festival went this year,” he said. “The feedback so far has been phenomenal, and it all went just as well as we had expected. Of course we have a whole host of events coming up over the next few months as part of the City of Culture programme, from One Big Weekend to the Fleadh Cheoil. And if we use this as an indicator of the level of interest in all that’s going on Derry, then we’re looking at an extremely exciting summer.”

“Once again Derry people came out in their droves to support the festival, and we had a huge influx of visitors here to enjoy what has to be the city’s favourite entertainment event. I must thank all who were involved in making this happen.”

The 2013 line-up featured a diversity of talent with the Neil Cowley Trio, The Overtones, Beverley Craven, The Soul Rebels, Dana Masters and The Puppini Sisters among some of the big names who had people on their feet for five days.

Speaking on behalf of sponsors Diageo NI, Barney McCann said: “The festival has been a resounding success, and the atmosphere throughout the city has been unbelievable over the past few days. We’ve a had a long association with the festival, which has such an impact on the local economy.

“Congratulations to all those involved, and a big thank you to everyone who came along and lent their support to such an important local cultural event.”

See all the coverage of the City of Derry Jazz Festival at and on Facebook.