THE CITY of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival returns this evening for the first time since the pandemic began, and is expected to bring with it 70,000 of music fans.
Beginning today and running across the Bank Holiday weekend until Monday, the festival is Northern Ireland's biggest jazz festival.
Among the acts performing at the festival this year include Imelda May, Hyde Park Brass Band, Jumpin'up and many more.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, kicked things off in yesterday as he welcomed the Jive Aces back to the Guildhall for the first Mayor's Teadance in two years.
This year will see over 400 performances taking place over 70 venues, most of them free, and the programme has something for everyone, from al fresco concerts to dance workshops.
Speaking ahead of the festival, headliner Imelda May said:
"I'm absolutely delighted to be returning to Derry to headline the Derry Jazz Festival. It's such a wonderful part of the world - Derry is a great city filled with fabulous people, and so much immense talent and culture.
"Live music has really taken a knock so it's fab that the Derry Jazz Festival is returning in all its glory this year," she added. "I believe tickets are flying out the door which I'm delighted to hear, so I shall be seeing you all very soon at the Millennium Forum."
Other favourites this year are Mission Impossible, Mirenda Rosenberg, The Red Stripe Band, Jiveoholics, Buck Taylor, The Jive Aces and Harry Connolly Band to name but a few of the performers.
New faces include Luke Thomas & The Swing Cats, NYJO, Kooskoos, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, Liberal Soul Band and Rusty Jacks.
Originally launched in 2001 by Gerry McColgan (former Derry City Council), City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival has become part of the fabric of the people, the culture and the life of Derry-Londonderry ever since. Inspired by the Cork Jazz Festival, Gerry and his colleague Johnny Murray (who managed the Rialto Theatre) wanted to combine the city’s rich musical reputation, it’s unique history, and the abundance of local jazz talent on it’s doorstep.
Both the 2020 and 20201 iterations of the festival were moved online as a result of the pandemic.
Those attending the festival are advised to download the City of Derry Jazz Festival app to receive the latest news and updates on the weekend, with print copies of the festival trail available at venues throughout the city and at council buildings.
More information can be found on www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com