Monday 14 October 2019

How Cork Guinness Jazz Festival 2019 will rival Montreal and New Orleans

Mica Paris
Mica Paris

Ralph Riegel

AN average of €300,000 per hour will be spent in Cork at the 42nd Guinness Jazz Festival.

The festival, which has defied recessions, bank collapses and social changes, will attract more than 50,000 fans to Cork as it vows 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.

More than 1,000 musicians from more than 20 countries will flock to Cork for a festival which was founded in 1978 and yet remains hugely popular.

The 2019 festival runs from October 24-28 - 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.

The festival will kick-off with a special 'Blaze of Jazz' parade on Friday, October 24.

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 95 per cent of the sessions in 60 Cork pubs, hotels and clubs will be free to the public.

There is 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 10 per cent 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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