Brexit did not impact British attendance at bumper Jazz Festival

Brexit did not impact British attendance at bumper Jazz Festival
Cork City Samba Band at the The 42 nd Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Picture: Clare Keogh

Fears that Brexit might deter some British people from attending this year's Guinness Cork Jazz Festival proved to be unfounded as business owners noticed a large contingent from the UK.

They were among the tens of thousands of people who flocked to Cork over the Bank Holiday weekend to take in the sights and sounds of the annual Guinness Cork Jazz Festival which has been described as the biggest one yet.

Thousands of jazz acts took to stages across the city and parts of the county as hundreds of events and gigs took place over the Bank Holiday weekend. Sunny Autumn weather played its part too as thousands of people thronged the city streets.

Motown diva and Grammy Hall of Famer, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas,perform at Cork City Hall as part of the 42nd Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Picture Clare Keogh
Motown diva and Grammy Hall of Famer, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas,perform at Cork City Hall as part of the 42nd Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Picture Clare Keogh

Business owners Philip Gillivan and Ernest Cantillon both admitted that there was a concern that all of the furore and uncertainty around Brexit would see less Brits in attendance at the annual event this year.

But the fear proved unwarranted, as Cork welcomed a large contingent from the UK, eager to join the jazz festivities.

“It’s definitely the busiest we have ever been in Sober Lane and Electric,” said Mr Cantillon. “I was nervous we would miss the usual English contingent but there are lots here and truck loads of Dublin people too.”

Picture: Clare Keogh
Picture: Clare Keogh

Mr Gillivan, president of the Cork Business Association and owner of the Shelbourne Bar, agreed.

“The English are back this year in abundance,” he said. “There was a fear there that they might not be with everything going on surrounding Brexit.

“But we’ve noticed a large contingent of the English here in Cork over the weekend and it’s been brilliant to see.

“The event is really a global one, it pulls in people from across the world.”

Mr Gillivan said the numbers in attendance at this year’s event appeared to surpass that of 2018.

“It never ceases to amaze me the way that the crowds come out in force for the jazz,” he said. “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.”

An estimated 45,000 people travelled through Cork Airport over the weekend, and tens of thousands of revellers flocked to Cork from all over the country.

Heavy funk brass band, Les Fanflures at the The 42nd Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Picture: Clare Keogh
Heavy funk brass band, Les Fanflures at the The 42nd Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Picture: Clare Keogh

Tánaiste Simon Coveney took in some jazz over the weekend and said: “The festival is big business for the hospitality industry in Cork and gives the city a significant boost.”

“The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival continues to be the busiest weekend of the year for the hospitality industry, and we will continue to work together to ensure that Cork remains as the home of jazz in Ireland, and one of the most important cultural festivals in the world,” Aaron Mansworth from Trigon Hotels said.

Michael Lyons from Guinness/Diageo said that it had been ‘another amazing weekend’.

“We had a fantastic start with the Blaze of Jazz Parade on Friday, which brought thousands into Cork, and the city was bursting with jazz in every venue and street corner for the remainder of the weekend,” he said.

“There was an incredible lineup of music, from top international stars like Kurt Elling and Martha Reeves, to homegrown artists like Dr Linley Hamilton and all the young talented musicians coming up through the Cork jazz scene.

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, on stage during the Cork Jazz Festival at City Hall, Cork.Picture: David Keane.
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, on stage during the Cork Jazz Festival at City Hall, Cork.Picture: David Keane.

“I’m delighted to say we had loads of sold out gigs, and all the bars, hotels and restaurants were incredibly busy, so it was a bumper year all-around.

“We’re already looking forward to next year.”

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