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Cork Jazz Festival to spark recovery of live entertainment sector after Covid-19 blow

THE 43rd Guinness Cork Jazz Festival got into full swing as Ireland’s first indoor music event since the Covid-19 pandemic hit 20 months ago kicked off.

he three-day event – which is worth an estimated €45 million to the Cork economy – has been hailed as a trail blazer for the recovery of Ireland’s battered live entertainment industry.

Both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney have backed the festival while urging people to strictly adhere to all Covid-19 control guidelines.

All jazz venues will impose strict checks on vaccination certificates and photographic identity, while there will be reduced capacity to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Former Lord Mayor of Cork and Blackpool GP, Councillor John Sheehan, urged festival-goers to enjoy themselves while adhering to Covid-19 guidelines.

“The message is for people to have fun while being careful and cautious given the current level of daily Covid-19 detections.”

Hotels and restaurants across Cork indicated strong booking levels for the weekend.

This year’s jazz programme will feature such headliners as New York hip-hop legend Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) and punk ensemble Naked Animals.

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The programme will also feature such stars as Matthew Halsall, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Mick Flannery, Susan O’Neill, Mack Fleetwood, DJ Jenny Greene, King Kong Company and Kit Downes.

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Hip hop legend Mos Def is one of the headliners. Photo: Reuters

The jazz trail will again prove one of the highlights of the festival programme.

Diageo Partnerships Director Rory Sheridan said it was very exciting to see the return of the festival, which was founded in 1978.

“We’ve all missed the hum of the crowd and the beat of the drum, so we are delighted to welcome back The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, providing a platform for musicians to perform and welcoming thousands of people to Cork to enjoy the festival atmosphere that we have all been looking forward to returning”.

“This will be the first major festival in Ireland since the pandemic to take place, which is a significant milestone not only for musicians and the events industry who have been one of hardest hit industries, but also for festival-goers who have been waiting for some good news.”

Cork Jazz Chairperson Fiona Collins said events associated with the festival will also be a major attraction.

“One of the highlights for many will be the Fringe Festival which will see some of the finest brass bands returning, including the New York Brass and Hyde Park, as well as more familiar local bands such as Rebel Brass bringing music to the streets of Cork.”

The Jazz Festival Club at the Metropole Hotel will host Fans of Swing, Funk, Groove, Blues and Dixieland for an exciting mix of Irish and international acts on several stages throughout the hotel.

Blarney and Kinsale will also host major music events over the weekend.

Cork Jazz has over the years featured a galaxy of jazz greats including Ella Fitzgerald, George Shearing, Cleo Laine, Art Blakey, Gerry Mulligan, Mel Torme, Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, B.B. King, Dave Brubeck, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones, Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea and a host of other top international names.

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