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Organisers of Cork Jazz festival hopeful it will go ahead this weekend despite alarming rise in Covid cases

CORK Jazz organisers expect the event to go ahead despite a surge in Covid-19 case numbers over the past fortnight.

he festival is scheduled to open on Friday night (October 22), with both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney indicating they expect the event to go ahead.

Festival organisers will consult over the Government’s new Covid-19 control measures – but these are expected to revolve around an extension of vaccination certs, booster vaccine jabs, face-mask wearing and social-distancing measures.

“We are aware that further announcements regarding restrictions are due to be released,” a festival spokesperson said.

“The health and safety of the public remains our absolute priority.”

The Taoiseach said he hoped to attend the event if he returns to Ireland in time from an EU meeting.

“I have been invited to the opening ceremony – if I get back from Brussels. But you can celebrate jazz in so many ways, you know.”

Mr Coveney said he expected the event to go ahead but refused to comment about what further Covid-19 control measures will be adopted from tomorrow by Cabinet.

“I am not going to make predictions,” he said.

It is expected that vaccination certs will now be extended for use in indoor venues, potentially until Christmas – and a get-tough enforcement policy will be adopted, with each cert verified against photographic identification.

The Taoiseach indicated that an expanded booster vaccine programme will also be rolled out over the winter.

The 43rd Cork Jazz festival is scheduled to be the first large-scale festival in Ireland since the Covid-19 pandemic first erupted in February/March 2020.

New York hip hop legend Mos Def will headline the event, which it is hoped will blaze the trail for the return of other major Irish music and cultural events after the pandemic shutdown.

The festival, which is worth €45 million to the wider Cork economy, was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

Founded in 1978, Cork Jazz ranks as one of Ireland’s longest-running annual music events.

The event, which is scheduled to run from October 22-25, will also feature such stars such as Matthew Halsall, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Mick Flannery, Susan O’Neill, Mack Fleetwood, DJ Jenny Greene, King Kong Company and Kit Downes.

Diageo Partnerships Director Rory Sheridan said it was very exciting to see Cork Jazz return.

“Ireland is brimming with some of the most talented and creative musicians, artists and performers, but during the last 18 months they’ve had no stage, no pubs, no venues or stadiums,” he said.

“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.”

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