Festival fever hit Cork with a ferocious intensity last night as the Jazz weekend began with the ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ parade through the city centre.
After the parade, venues filled up as Jazz fans began their annual pilgrimage of the various music hubs in Cork including home of the Jazz, The Metropole Hotel.
Tonight The Blind Boys of Alabama will take to the stage of City Hall while the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble perform at the Cork Opera House, Billy Childs All-Star Quartet play at The Everyman and Ladies In The Blues are in the Firkin Crane Theatre.
On Saturday All Tvvins take to the Cork Opera House while Bansangu Orchestra play The Everyman and Wyvern Lingo perform at St Luke’s.
Sunday will see another ream of talent taking to various stages with Jenny Greene playing at City Hall, Cork's own musical genius Talos taking to the Opera House and The 4 of us performing at St Luke's.
The General Manager of The Metropole Hotel Roger Russell told the Evening Echo this is his 20th Jazz Festival and it is a weekend that is close to his heart.
“I started working in the Jazz Festival as the barman manager in the Metropole, after a few years I moved to Amsterdam to work in another Trigon hotel over there. While I was over there, The Metropole invited me back to run the Jazz weekend one year and afterwards I was offered the position of Deputy Manager.” Mr Russell worked as the Deputy Manager of The Metropole Hotel for five and a half years and has been the General Manager for the last ten.
“It is a great weekend, don’t get me wrong there is a lot of hard work put in, but I have a very experienced team and they know what needs to be done.
The Metropole General Manager said he loves the Jazz as it always has a lovely atmosphere and pulls people out of the woodwork.
“You see people that you might not see all year,” Mr Russell said, “It is a great occasion.” Manager of the Clayton Hotel Conor O’Toole said they are completely booked out for the weekend and looking forward to a good weekend.
“There is a good buzz around the place already and a lot of good acts playing across the city.” Mr O’Toole said that he thought Festival Director Sinead Dunphy had put together an eclectic mix of entertainment across the city and that addition of gigs at City Hall was a great idea.
“Jenny Greene playing at City Hall on Monday is a fantastic addition to the line-up,” Mr O’Toole said, “I think there is something for everyone this year and it is going to be one of the best Jazz weekends we have ever seen.” Imperial Hotel manager Fritz Potgieter said he was “incredibly excited” about the weekend “We are packed to capacity, all our events are sold out except our over 25’s free event on Saturday in the Jazz lounge. There is seating available at that and there is no entry fee.” Mr Potgieter said he had a lot of international guests staying with him for the weekend from America, Asia and Europe.
“There seems to be an eclectic mix and this year seems to have a very strong Jazz-inspired atmosphere. I think this year people are going to get a very authentic Jazz experience.”