Lamarotte jazz band performing through Cork city in true jazz style with thumping drums and big brass beats. Keep an eye out for them around the city this weekend, and in Kinsale on Saturday afternoon at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Photo: Darragh Kane

Jazz festival is getting bigger once more

I’m really looking forward to this weekend.

I know for some people, it’s just too busy out but it’s great to see the city so busy. The last weekend of October is always one of the best weekends of the year in Cork. There are an incredible array of gigs on in venues all over the city. I plan on getting to gigs in the Everyman, St Lukes, Cyprus Avenue, the Triskel and perhaps a few other places too.

If you’re not going to any gigs, but you do want to catch some free jazz, then the Big Fringe has something for you. Organized by the local Cork Jazz Festival Committee, it’s a programme featuring big brass bands, and spontaneous performances by some great jazz talent. Essentially, it brings jazz to the streets of Cork for free! The lineup includes international acts such as the lively New York Brass, Hyde Park Brass Band, Brass Kings, Tbl8 Brass Band, and local acts including the likes of Rebel Brass, BoolaBoom and the Blarney Brass Band. A new element this year is the Oliver Plunkett Street Stroll on Friday evening at 6pm. It sounds cool as a number of marching bands take over the street in a mini jazz parade. If you think you don’t like jazz, this is a great way to experience it.

These bands will also play on city streets over the weekend and at the Jazz on the Plaza super dome jazz stage on the Opera House Plaza, Emmet Place. That will feature live music all afternoon on Saturday and Sunday, and throughout the streets of the city for Beat on the Street. Another new addition this year is Jazz in the Elizabeth Fort, Barrack Street on Saturday afternoon. This will showcase jazz musicians of the future as Music Generation takes to the stage for a jazzy afternoon of musical entertainment for all the family. The open top Big Jazz Bus will be making a return, providing shoppers and visitors with a festival vibe as it tours the city from Friday to Sunday, accompanied by lively jazz bands performing on top. As always, there’s far more going on than just jazz with headliners for the festival including Macy Gray, Morcheeba and The Pharcyde, the Charlatans and many others who are far from jazz musicians! It’s said that the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival is worth over €45m to the economy. Last year, the festival smashed records attracting more than 100,000 people to the city. This year’s expanded programme features an extra date, with more than 100 ticketed shows (a 40% increase), more than 500 musicians from over 40 countries, and an extended music trail in 73 pubs, theatres, clubs and hotel venues across Cork city, Douglas and Kinsale. There’s a huge amount to look forward and hopefully the weather plays ball!