Every October Bank Holiday weekend the streets of Cork come alive to the sounds of jazz music. On every street corner, in every public house and public space, some of the world’s finest jazz musicians will be gathering. There is a fantastic programme of events from 26th-29th October. Here are some of our highlights…
Start the Festival in Style
The festival kicks off on Thursday 25th with an evening parade through the city streets. Dia de los Muertos will have the city tapping its toes as this celebration of the beauty of life and death passes by. This is one for the whole family as the night closes in – a little bit of Mardi Gras in Ireland. Full details are here.
The Cork City Library is the venue for some fantastic free lunchtime treats. On Wednesday 24th there is the Beginner’s Guide to Reading Music. Dr Ian Darrington will reveal the mysteries of written musical notes to curious minds both young and old. See here for more details. And on Thursday 25th the fantastically named ‘I Don’t Like Jazz But ….’ sees Dr Darrington introduce jazz music to the non-believers. He will teach you new ways to listen to and enjoy all types of jazz. A whole new world awaits. Find out more here.
Ladies in Blue and the Blind Boys
While many of the jazz sessions are free to all, there are also some incredible ticketed events that are not to be missed. In the Firkin Crane Theatre on Friday 26th Ladies in Blues will take you on a magical journey with the songs of some of the best female blues artists in history. Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Janice Joplin are just some of the greats who will feature in this fantastic programme. Find out more here.
Also on Friday 26th, the Blind Boys of Alabama will be taking to the stage in City Hall. This world famous band have won five Grammy awards in a 70 year recording career bringing gospel music to the masses. For all the details see here. Night owls meanwhile should head to Cork Opera House for a midnight jazz feast with the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who are travelling all the way from Chicago to join in the fun. See here for more details.
On Sat 27th in the beautifully refurbished Nano Nagle’s Goldie Chapel there will be a real treat in store for theatre fans. Requiem for Truth is a live theatre and jazz show, featuring Stomptown Brass band and the Collapsing Horse theatre company. The darkness and colour of a New Orleans Jazz funeral comes to life before your eyes. See more here.
Meanwhile in City Hall at 10.30 pm on Sat 27th the glamour of the Great Gatsby comes to Cork. Flappers and dapper gents will be dancing to the golden era of the Jazz dance halls. Two of Europe’s most famous jazz bands – Meschiva Lake & the Dizzy Birds, and Gentlemen & Gangsters are coming to town. So don the glad rags and get dancing. All details are here.
The Cork School of Music is renowned for the musical talent it has produced over the years. And on Sunday 27th October Frank Vignola will be returning with his Hot Jazz Guitar Trio. These three guitarists will bring the wonder of jazz guitar to all. Find out more here.
Jazz at the Gaol
Or for a completely unique venue why not try Jazz at the Gaol, where the Art Crimes Band will be bringing their unique sound to Cork City Gaol. This is one of the most popular venues at the fringe festival and sure to book out quickly. See here for more details.
Don’t forget to also wander the streets of this beautiful city on the banks of the River Lee to check out the free jazz concerts on every corner. There will be free lunchtime concerts in the Nano Nagle centre each day at 1pm. And on Friday 26th from 1pm – 6pm there will be free jazz in Emmet Place. Every half an hour there will be a different jazz band taking to the stage to celebrate this most unique of festivals.
Cork Jazz Festival – An unmissable weekend
This is just a small snapshot of the incredible line up of events all over Cork City and county in celebration of Jazz in all its glory. See guinnessjazzfestival.com for the full programme of events. Be sure to check out www.inspireme.ie for more events close to you.
Finally, all details were correct at time of publication. But be sure to confirm details with organisers before you travel.