Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Sax and the city: City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival

Derry Jazz legend Gay McIntyre
Derry Jazz legend Gay McIntyre

More than 500 musicians have been unveiled as the cast for the special 2013 vintage edition of Londonderry's largest musical festival.

Around 300 concerts, dances, balls, markets and workshops will be staged during the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.

The event will see legions of musicians pouring in from every corner of the globe over the May Bank Holiday weekend for the themed festival.

It will take place at 80 venues over five days starting on Thursday, May 2 and continuing through to Monday, May 6, with the vast majority of events free to attend.

Headliners include Soul Rebels from New Orleans, who have been described by Rolling Stone Magazine as an "utterly uninhibited hip-hop hybrid", and UK jazz musician of the year the Neil Cowley Trio – Neil is also the UK City of Culture's musician in residence.

Harmony heartthrobs The Overtones will stage back-to-back concerts at the Millennium Forum and The Puppini Sisters, who have performed alongside Michael Buble, will be adding a splash of bygone glamour when they headline the Grand Vintage Ball.

At yesterday's launch, festival organiser, Derry City Council's Elaine Griffith, said: "Each year more and more venues are looking to come on board for the jazz festival and this year there are a lot more bars in the Waterside and cultural venues which will be staging events."

Ms Griffith said that the Culture Company had taken on the responsibility for adding the vintage element to one of Derry City Council's flagship festivals.

Mayor of Derry Kevin Campbell said the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival has become a signature event for the city and one that showcases Derry at its very best.

He said: "The wealth of international, national and local talent that will descend on the city's venues over the May Bank Holiday is incredible."

Making a welcome return will be the Guinness Free Jazz Trail, which offers a programme of great talent for free.

Seasoned festival-goers will recognise familiar names such as The Jive Aces, Harry Connolly, Wild, King Pleasure And The Biscuit Boys, The Jazz Ladds, whilst new faces this year include the Ronan McCullagh Trio and Ruth James.

Speaking for sponsors Diageo NI, Barney Mc Cann said: "We are really looking forward to the festival and we believe the line-up of events will provide an opportunity for our customers to showcase the vibrancy and creativity that Northern Ireland has to offer."

Local acts represented over the weekend include Gay McIntyre, celebrating his 80th birthday this year, John Trotter, Jim McDermott & Friends and Ursula McHugh.

Programme details are available online at

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