As the Rebel city and county basked in the Autumn sun over the weekend, there is a feeling that this years Guinness Cork Jazz Festival has surpassed all that have come before it.
Tens of thousands of people flocked to Cork over the past three nights to take in the sights and sounds of the annual festival, now in its 42nd year, which has become a global phenomenon.
Every corner of Cork came alive over the weekend featuring more than 1,000 musicians and creative artists from more than 20 countries, including headline jazz acts such as Kurt Elling, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Big Brass Band Explosion, Dr Linley Hamilton Quintet and the Fred Hersch Trio.
Dozens of food stalls, fringe events and free gigs ensured that no one was left without entertainment over the busy bank holiday bonanza.
Speaking at the official launch at the Metropole on Friday night, Tanaiste Simon Coveney (FG) said that the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival has been an extraordinary success for over four decades now.
He thanked everybody who makes this event happen year after year.
“This is a hugely important part of Cork’s social calendar but it’s also big, big business for so many people in the hospitality business across Cork each year,” said Mr Coveney.
“It is worth millions to this city.” Business owners in the city have said that this year could have been one of the biggest yet.
Speaking to The Echo, Philip Gillivan, president of the Cork Business Association, said:
“It’s up on last year which is hard to believe because last year was a bumper year.
“It’s been incredible,” he added.
“It never ceases to amaze me the way that the crowds come out in force for the Jazz.
“We’ve had around 17 gigs over the four days from Friday lunchtime right through to Monday night.
“Turnover was up again this year.
“It’s a huge part of our year, probably the biggest event in the calendar and I think that’s the same for a lot of businesses across Cork.”
Adding to that sentiment, publican Benny McCabe said:
“It’s a credit to the city, the quality of the gigs and people.
“The crowds seem to be well up on previous years.
“It’s great to see the city enjoying itself in the Autumn sun - there’s been no trouble, everyone is just happy and enjoying themselves,” he added.
“Whatever about the quality of the acts, the quality of the people has been through the roof.
“It’s just been a good-natured crowd throughout the whole weekend and it’s been brilliant.
“I would say that, given what has gone on here in Cork over the past two nights, that it has possibly been the busiest Jazz Festival ever here.
“The city is packed - hotels are full, people are sleeping on couches, there’s car registrations from all over the country being seen in the city.
“There’s a great sense of community across the event at the moment.”
Mr Gillivan said he was speaking to business owners in the English Market over the weekend who enjoyed a similarly busy time.
“It really has a positive impact on all businesses from pubs and restaurants to taxis, shops and more.
“It really kicks off the run up to Christmas in style.
“It gets us through a few quiet nights in November and then we’re into December and the Christmas season,” he added.