Entertainment Festivals

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Halloween comes early to Cork with fire-breathing skeletons to launch Guinness Jazz Festival 2019

The Metropole Hotel gears up for The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2019
The Metropole Hotel gears up for The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2019

Ralph Riegel

Fire-breathing skeletons will launch the the 42nd Guinness Jazz Festival and spark an early Halloween celebration in Cork.

The ‘Blaze of Jazz Parade’ will open the festival which will bring 50,000 music fans and revellers to Cork.

From October 25, more than 1,000 musicians from 20 countries will play more than 100 different venues across Cork and at fringe festivals in Blarney and Kinsale.

The 'Blaze of Jazz Parade' will offer a New Orleans-style event to launch the festival with fire-breathing skeletons leading some of the world's finest marching bands along a route that takes from through the entire city centre.

The festival, which has defied recessions, bank collapses and social changes, has vowed to continue to rival landmark jazz events such as those in Montreal and New Orleans.

Organisers insisted the festival’s ability to adapt, embrace varied musical styles and remain relevant have helped make it one of Ireland’s most successful and longest running events.

Founded in 1978, Cork Jazz ranks as one of Ireland's longest-running annual music events.

The 2019 festival runs from October 25-28 - with musicians confirmed to attend from more than 20 countries.

The stars taking part this year include Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Kurt Elling, The Big Brass Band Explosion, Dr. Linley Hamilton Quintet, Fred Hersch Trio, Mica Paris and Spyro Gyra.

Jazz Festival Chairperson Fíona Collins said they are expecting another record-breaking event.

“The festival committee is delighted to work in partnership with Diageo Ireland, Cork City Council, Cork Business Association, Cork Chamber and businesses all over the city to create another fantastic weekend programme to be proud of and it’s a great opportunity to showcase the city and it’s welcoming vibe to thousands of Irish and overseas visitors,” she said.

Guinness became associated with the festival in 1982 and, from humble beginnings with just a handful of venues and around 100 musicians, it has established itself as one of the world’s great jazz spectaculars.

The festival now offers a remarkable €35m boost to the Cork economy.

In keeping with tradition, more than 95pc of the sessions in 60 Cork pubs, hotels and clubs will be free to the public.

There was also a programme of street performances and open air concerts to broaden the community appeal of the festival – and to persuade people to spend time in Cork city.

Hotel and guesthouse bookings are estimated to be running at up to 10pc above last year’s festival – though there were concerns Brexit and the Sterling exchange rate could impact on UK visitors.

The venues this year include Cork Opera House, Cork School of Music, the Everyman Palace, the Metropole Hotel and the Triskel Arts Centre as well as almost 100 pubs and clubs across Cork, Kinsale, Blarney and other towns.

“Since its inception more than 40 years ago, the people of Cork have warmly welcomed in excess of one million visitors to the festival which has been a fantastic showcase for the city and county,” a festival official said.

“Long may that continue to be the case.”

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