City businesses hail jazz fest as 'one of the very best'

City businesses hail jazz fest as 'one of the very best'
Blue Mondays performing over the weekend at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.

CORK’S business owners have described the latest Guinness Jazz Festival as one of the very best.

Crowds enjoying the market in Emmet Place.Picture: Clare Keogh
Crowds enjoying the market in Emmet Place.Picture: Clare Keogh

Around 40,000 people took to concert venues, pubs, restaurants and city streets over the past few days to enjoy the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival and all it has to offer.

With top entertainment on offer across the city and county, local business owners said it was one of the highlights of the year.

“The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, along with the likes of Christmas, is one of the best events of the year,” said Ernest Cantillon, owner of Sober Lane and Electric in Cork City.

“This year, the way it has been going, it could be one of the best yet.

“There’s a great buzz around the city and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves,” he added.

The Bla Mandag Jazz Band playing on Patrick Street, during the Cork Jazz Festival.Picture: David Keane.
The Bla Mandag Jazz Band playing on Patrick Street, during the Cork Jazz Festival.Picture: David Keane.

With Cork city heaving throughout the weekend, Mr Cantillon said the festival is one of the most important dates for the local economy.

“The opening parade on Thursday was a great way to open the weekend and it’s just been mental ever since.

“Friday was fantastic as well and I’m sure it’ll be busy until the very end,” he said.

With thousands taking to Cork streets, bars and restaurants were offering food pairings with Guinness as the festival got into full swing.

Back Chat Brass on stage in the Metropole Hotel, during the Cork Jazz Festival.Picture: David Keane.
Back Chat Brass on stage in the Metropole Hotel, during the Cork Jazz Festival.Picture: David Keane.

The head of Diageo’s European branch was in attendance at festival events on Saturday evening, dining at Electric Bar and Restaurant, revealed Mr Cantillon.

“That shows just how big a deal the Cork Jazz Festival is,” he said.

“It’s a major event here in Cork but it’s becoming an international jazz event that people seem really eager to get to.

“Talking to people in Cork over the past few days, many of them are Irish who are now living abroad,” he added.

“It’s great to see them come home for such an occasion, meeting up with friends and family.

Cork is far from the only county in Ireland that is keenly aware of the significance of the festival, according to Mr Cantillon, who was in Mayo on Friday before travelling back to the Rebel County to join in the festivities.

“When I was in Mayo, people were surprised to see me,” he said.

“They were asking: Are you not down at the Jazz?

“I assured them I was on my way and since I got back, I can’t believe the atmosphere,” he added.

“The city has been packed all weekend, it’s been fantastic.”

Picrture Clare Keogh
Picrture Clare Keogh

Cork Business Association president and publican Philip Gillivan said the event is growing every year.

Mr Gillivan, who owns the Shelbourne Bar on MacCurtain St, said that the four days of jazz was the equivalent of three weeks of normal business.

“From what I have seen is there is a younger generation coming through now and they are so well dressed, they really make a big effort to go all out for it. Especially the young lads with the suits and the shoes.”

It’s estimated that the festival is worth a cool €35m to the local economy.

It has added a few new touches in 2018, with City Hall and St Luke’s added to the list of official venues.

The weekend began on Thursday with the first ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ parade through the city centre.

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