More than 40,000 people are expected to get their groove on in Londonderry for the 2013 edition of the Jazz Festival this weekend.
Hundreds of artists from across the world are in the city as excitement builds ahead of the start of the festival.
This year’s festival, headlined by the glamorous trio the Puppini Sisters and heart-throb harmonisers The Overtones, will have a special vintage feel, with themed markets, concerts, fairs and even children’s games from bygone eras planned.
Among the other big names at the 2013 festival are the Soul Rebels from New Orleans, Promise Me singer Beverley Craven, US jazz and soul singer Dana Masters, BBC3’s Julian Joseph, the Brass Impact Big Band from Scotland.
The festival is also catering for other musical genres with electro outfit Deep Fried Funk bringing Berlin DJs Ben Klock and Ame for two gigs.
More than 90% of the hundreds of gigs taking place from May 2 to 6 will be free to attend and organisers are confident this year’s event will see a rise in visitors to Derry.
Derry Mayor Kevin Campbell will officially open the May Bank Holiday festival celebrations tomorrow night when he hosts his very own Mayor’s Charity Jazz Festival Party at Da Vinci’s Hotel.
Mr Campbell will present a stellar line up of festival favourites, among them the Derry Soul Seekers, the Red Stripe Band and the jumpin’ Jive Aces at the gig, which is being held to raise funds for the Foyle Search & Rescue.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Campbell urged people from across Northern Ireland and beyond to join the party this weekend.
“This year it is bigger than it has ever been, it being the City of Culture year, and we have 300 different acts in 80 venues over the bank holiday weekend.
“There is a great buzz about the city in anticipation of it — everyone is looking forward to an absolutely fantastic weekend of jazz and other music and craic.
“It is going to be absolutely spectacular.
“There is going to be a real vintage vibe this year.
“The Grand Ball at Ebrington is something else we have never done before and that is going to be absolutely amazing.
“The Jazz Festival is major highlight of the City of Culture programme.
“I would say to anyone who has never experienced the Jazz Festival before to come along and be part of this massive party. I guarantee you will have a fantastic experience and you will be back.”
For more on the festival and celebrated Guinness Jazz Trail, go to www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com