THE Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council has extended the warmest of welcomes to all those from far and near visiting City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival which kicks off today (Thursday).
Tens of thousands of visitors will throng the city for the 18th annual festival which runs until Monday, May 6 with everything from serious jazz to ska and swing to ensure music lovers of all tastes can enjoy the beat over the bank holiday weekend.
Mayor, Councillor John Boyle, is looking forward to both local people and those from further afield soaking up the upbeat atmosphere that the jazz festival always creates.
He said: “The jazz and big band festival is one of the highlights of our year and is hugely successful with a wide range of people.
“This year, our young people are more involved than ever before through the Youth 19 programme which is fantastic to see as it brings music to a whole new generation as well as showcases the incredible talent of the young people in the city and district.
“It is also an opportunity for our business community to demonstrate to a wider audience the high standards that they deliver day after day, making our area such a fantastic place to visit time after time.
“It promises to be a bumper weekend and I wish everyone a fantastic time.”
Around 70,000 people are expected to descend on Derry over the five days of the jazz festival with dozens of local cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels and theatres opening up their doors to give everyone the best entertainment on offer.
Each year the festival expands and more and more establishments both within the city centre and beyond are taking the initiative and organising their own events to be included in the festival programme alongside long-running crowd-pleasers.
For 2019, more than 200 acts will appear in 70 venues. Stephen Gillespie, Director of Business and Culture, Derry City and Strabane District Council, said:
“The jazz festival sees year on year growth which gives a great boost to our local economy and builds on its status as a key tourist attraction.
“During the festival for every £1 spent we aim to attract at least £4 return on investment.”
Everything you need to know about this year’s jazz festival can be found on the What’s On Derry Strabane app.
It’s free to download and includes the full festival programme, where to stay, where to eat, travel and more, or you can visit the website on: www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com
Motorists are advised to use city centre car parks which are clearly signposted.
A quiet room is available at selected times in the Guildhall, please check the app or ask staff for details.
Large format festival programmes are available at Information Point, Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place.
The Festival is supported by the Youth 19 programme – delivered with support from the Peace IV programme, the Big Lottery Fund, and the North West Regional Development Fund – Diageo, and Tourism NI.