Cork Jazz: 'We’re working within guidelines, but that won’t stop people from having an absolute ball'

Cork Jazz: 'We’re working within guidelines, but that won’t stop people from having an absolute ball'

Band members from Code of Behaviour play for the passing shoppers on Winthrop Street during the 2021 Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.

THE hospitality industry in Cork is gearing up for a long weekend of jazz and blues, as the Cork Jazz Festival kicked off yesterday afternoon.

Trigon Hotels managing director Aaron Mansworth said that he and his team were “delighted” to be launching the jazz festival at the Metropole Hotel tonight, the original home of the festival.

“Obviously there are certain restrictions in place, health and safety will always be paramount, but we’re absolutely delighted to have people coming back.

“We do have reduced capacities. We’re working within guidelines, but that won’t stop people from having an absolute ball and enjoying themselves.”

Girls just want to have fun: Isabelle Mulcahey from Ballinhassig, Aine Crowe from Togher, Clara Roche from Donoghmore, Eimear Cooney from Bishopstown, Amy Keating from Ballincollig, and Emily Cronin from Togher listening to the jazz music on Winthrop Street yesterday. 
Girls just want to have fun: Isabelle Mulcahey from Ballinhassig, Aine Crowe from Togher, Clara Roche from Donoghmore, Eimear Cooney from Bishopstown, Amy Keating from Ballincollig, and Emily Cronin from Togher listening to the jazz music on Winthrop Street yesterday. 

He said it was great for team members and regular guests to see the many weeks of hard work come to fruition over the weekend, and it was a positive step in the right direction that they are “delighted to be part of”.

“I think what you’re going to see is that this jazz will be just as much about being out on the street and all across the city as much as it will be indoors, with the first weekend open coinciding with the jazz, which is hopefully a good omen,” he said.

The Runaway Retros entertaining the diners on Marlboro St. during the Guinness Cork Jazz 2021 opening night. 
The Runaway Retros entertaining the diners on Marlboro St. during the Guinness Cork Jazz 2021 opening night. 

Noreen Gannon of Gallagher’s Gastro Pub on MacCurtain Street said that things were building up nicely on Friday evening in anticipation of the weekend.

“There are bands playing here every night and food served here all weekend,” she said.

Sisters Harlow and Lily Wallace Raymond, from Ballyphehane, give the thumbs up to the jazz music on the streets of Cork city centre yesterday.
Sisters Harlow and Lily Wallace Raymond, from Ballyphehane, give the thumbs up to the jazz music on the streets of Cork city centre yesterday.

Live music will be offered at the pub on Saturday night from 10.30pm and Sunday night from 3pm.

Director and manager of Dwyers of Cork on Washington Street, Chris Weldon, said that staff had a busy morning on Friday doing last-minute adjustments to the venue. We are now open and ready for a busy jazz weekend,” he said, adding that walk-ins are welcome at the venue daily for bar and food service.

Vincent Bradley, who runs The Rendezvous Pub on Model Farm Road, said he was expecting a full house all weekend, both inside and outside, with 11 car park spaces converted into seating for 130 people over the summer months.

People out and about on Oliver Plunkett Street during the Guinness Cork Jazz 2021 opening night.
People out and about on Oliver Plunkett Street during the Guinness Cork Jazz 2021 opening night.

Mr Bradley said they were kicking off the long-anticipated jazz festival with The Loungeman, Conor O’Shea, and many other live acts across the weekend.

No bar counter but busy weekend expected

Owner of Soho on Grand Parade Seán McCarthy said that preparing for the jazz festival felt like opening a new business or getting ready for a new event in the city “because it’s so long since we’ve had this anticipation of crowds of people being around”.

“The anticipation in our trade is that it should be a good weekend, and we hope everybody has a great weekend, and that it’s good for the city and that everyone adheres to the guidelines because we know its serious. 

"We’re happy with what came out from the Government, but we still want everyone who comes through our premises and all premises to be safe and comfortable,” he said.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and guests playing at The Everyman Theatre during the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival last night.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and guests playing at The Everyman Theatre during the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival last night.

He said he was disappointed that the bar counter was not in play under the most recent Government decision, and expressed disappointment at the lateness of the announcement in order to prepare for the jazz festival, but that bookings had been coming in since the announcement of the festival.

“Things are mental. From the minute the announcement was made four weeks ago about jazz, we started getting bookings. The problem was we didn’t know the size of the groups that we could take. There were bigger groups booked in, but the fact that now you can book multiple parties, we were able to divide up bigger groups than 10 into two tables, so we were lucky to be able to do that because we have the advantage of having a big premises,” he said.

He said that there was a great buzz around the city and that people are making plans to come into the city at least once, if not multiple times, “because they’re just looking to come out and have fun”.

“We haven’t had normality in 20 months and this is the first taste of normality and it’s fantastic. 

"There is an air of excitement and a sense that something really good is going to happen to the city this weekend,” he said.

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