Cork prepares for bumper weekend of jazzy sounds
Over 40,000 fans expected to attend 400 gigs and inject €10 million into Cork economy
German jazz band Beat N Blow performing on Patrick Street, Cork as part of the Cork Guinness Jazz Festival. Photograph: Darragh Kane
And after the rain, the jazz. For once the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival seemed to break from what has become a near tradition – that of jazz fans picking their way through puddles on the streets of Cork as they make their way from gig to gig in a city heaving with brassy sounds.
A night of torrential rain on Thursday, which saw some business people in Cork get out their sandbags, gave way to a bright sunny morning yesterday as Leeside prepared to welcome more than 40,000 jazz fans attending 400 gigs at 47 venues on the Guinness Jazz Trail.
Opening the festival last night was multi-award-winning British saxophonist Courtney Pine, who was making his fourth visit to the festival since debuting on Leeside in the late 1990s.
Speaking before his concert at the Everyman Palace Theatre, he was in ebullient form. “We are delighted to be back again in Cork and to be part of this year’s brilliant line-up. It’s an amazing festival, one of the world’s best. Playing alongside Billy Cobham, Nile Rogers, and Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B will be incredible,” he said.
Among the other acts to perform at this year’s festival are Danish indie group Efterklang, soul and funk hit makers Chic featuring Nile Rogers as well as double bills from Soul II Soul Sound System with neo-soul star Bilal.
Jazz drumming legend Billy Cobham plays the Everyman Palace Theatre with the Portico Quartet, while Snarky Puppy plays the same venue with the Mingus Big Band. Alt-rock group, Primal Scream take to the stage at the Opera House on Monday night.
Artistic director of the festival Jack McGowran said the more eclectic line up, introduced in recent years, has proven particularly popular.
“We are expanding the listening experience for people and we appreciate jazz is going to be the centre of it but we also welcome other forms of jazz-related music and that’s been quite successful.”
He said this year’s festival will be worth up to €15 million to the Cork economy but what makes it special is the warm welcome the artists receive which makes them want to return year after year.
“The main thing is the artists all want to come back . . . they really want to come back year after year but we can’t do that because we want to rotate the programme to make it fresh and new every year.”