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All festivals axed in Derry and Strabane until October and Halloween hangs in the balance

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Northern Ireland's biggest Jazz Festival has been cancelled

Northern Ireland's biggest Jazz Festival has been cancelled

Northern Ireland's biggest Jazz Festival has been cancelled

All festivals and events on Derry and Strabane Council's 2021 calender from now until mid-October been cancelled including St Patrick's Day and the renowned Jazz Festival, while a go-ahead for the award winning Halloween celebration still hangs in the balance.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the City of Derry Jazz Festival which now attracts more than 70,000 visitors to Derry over the May Bank Holiday week.

The usual throngs of people packed into bars and restaurants throughout the city bringing jazz music to life in the streets will be replaced by a digital programme of local artists.

The Council has also confirmed the North West Angling Fair, the Strabane Lifford and Waterside Half Marathons have been cancelled and the Summer Jamm is now not likely to be able to proceed in its usual format.

Instead an "Inside Out" digital content programme with a significantly reduced budget that will accommodate COVID restrictions but take into account the economic needs of the business community will be rolled out over the coming months.

Local hotelier, Brendan Duddy said money saved by cancelling the events should be used to reinvigorate the city once the Covid restrictions are lifted.

He said: "It was obviously sensible that the event that were coming up soon were cancelled but I hope the cuts to the budgets will be used to invigorate the city when we are out the other side rather than make it a saving.

"Festivals like St Patrick's Day and the Jazz Festival are massive for traders in Derry - people come and stay in hotels but then they go out and spend additional money in bars and restaurants and in retail so this is a massive loss."

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Halloween in Derry

Halloween in Derry

Halloween in Derry

A final decision on Derry's Halloween festival has not been taken and Council officers are still working on a draft programme for the celebrations including format it could take and whether or not large scale events and crowds will be permitted.

Belfast Telegraph


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