Thousands to visit Jazz and Big Band festival in Derry
Over the next five days more than 60,000 revellers will arrive in Londonderry for this year's Jazz and Big Band festival.
Once again, bed space in Derry is at a premium as music enthusiasts pack into the city's hotels, guest houses and B&Bs for the festival.
Van Morrison, who is this year's headline act, is performing at the Millennium Forum on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday night.
The festival, which has grown steadily since 2001 to become one of Europe's premier jazz festivals, kicks-off this evening at the Guildhall.
Topping the bill at this free event will be jazz legend Gay McIntyre who will be performing with the Paul McIntyre Trio, heading up a cast of the finest local talent.
It kicks-off a packed programme of music events that is keenly focused on the promotion of Derry's homegrown talent.
A whole host of new talent has been confirmed for this year's Jazz Festival programme, including the rhythm and blues band The Revolutionaires, Dinosaur, Kaz Hawkins, and one of the UK's most authentic New Orleans-style brass bands, The Heavy Beat Brass Band.
Other new attractions include the Jessica Radcliffe Quartet; Barrence Whitfield from Boston's Rumble Club; an eight-piece ska/reggae band from London called The Dualers; Irish jazz and folk singer Mary Coughlan; the Swing Cats, Darren Beckett Trio and much more.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Maoliosa McHugh who will host tonight's opening event, said: "The jazz opening night is always really special as it sets the scene for what is undoubtedly one of the best weekend's in the local calendar.
City Centre Manager Jim Roddy said the city is ready for a fantastic festival.
He said: "The whole city is geared up for yet another fantastic Jazz and Big Band festival. This has become one of our most successful events in the year."