Stevie G: Impressive line-up to choose from at Cork Jazz Festival

So many good acts on across the venues at this year's festival, says Stevie G in his Downtown column 
Stevie G: Impressive line-up to choose from at Cork Jazz Festival

Find what you like and get out there and enjoy the performances, whatever the restrictions.

The build-up to this jazz weekend has been truly remarkable. Back in late August, it was announced that this was the weekend where the government promised to lift all restrictions, and despite cynicism and trepidation, the night-time industry did its best to plan for the magical date. The announcement that the jazz festival was going to return was rightfully celebrated by all, and the impressive line-up meant that tickets were snapped up very fast for a host of different events. As I write this, the government is considering some changes to the reopening plan again, so apologies if some of these shows mentioned have been postponed or cancelled.

If the whole situation is playing havoc with me writing a few words about the festival, you can imagine what it’s like for those who are planning shows and or staffing or stocking venues this weekend? It’s difficult even on a normal jazz weekend to get staff or sort stock. It truly feels that the whole industry is treated like an afterthought when it comes to long-term thinking, and many of the venues who have been closed for 18 months are rightfully upset. The mental toll this takes on lots of people cannot be measured, but for now, the show must go on. The industry that has largely been shut and compliant for 18 months will try and proceed with caution.

Elsewhere I’ve covered the highly anticipated visit of Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), and in previous columns I’ve featured some of the other big main acts of the festival. Today I’m gonna look at some of the festival trail highlights, and obviously, some of the shows are subject to restrictions being lifted as planned originally. Practically ever bar and venue in Cork has got something on. Sadly we’ve lost some bars and venues during the pandemic too, while a few more have come on the scene, but music fans won’t be stuck for options this weekend if they are heading out to Cork City.

Nearly every DJ and live act in the city will be gigging and this is the way it should be.

The Jazz Festival is always a festival that shows the city at its peak, with huge crowds out both day and night, and with most venues fairly busy. It remains to be seen whether the confusion regarding restrictions will affect numbers this weekend, and with both rail works disruptions and the airport out of action, getting to Cork has been made more difficult too. Hopefully it will still be a great weekend as there is plenty on.

Cyprus Avenue have a busy weekend planned and Le Boom, Houseplants, KneeCap, Shane Codd, Boots and Kats and the Academic are all booked in to the venue which should be hopping all weekend. Around the corner the Crane Lane have lots of their regular DJs in rotation and live music from local favourites such as Pontious Pilate, The Service, Souldriven, Skazz and plenty more. The Oliver Plunkett has got Runaway Retros, Art Crimes Band, Cosmic Funk Band, Papa Zitas and much more, while the Bodega has Quangodelic, Christina Underwood and Belleville Hot Club while Electric has live music from King K, Naked Animals, Dee & the Night Jars, Watermelons plus DJ sets from Greg C, Darren Kelly, Gary Kitz, J Razza, Colm Motherway and more.

Bru Bar has a jazz festival special with the Cutting Heads Collective taking over on Friday while Maksy, Deasz and the Endup residents take over on Saturday. Briony and Fionn’ o’Neill plus the Five Spot Quartet followed by Kate take over Sunday. Cask have Darren and Alex Friday plus CDoubleYou and Eddie K the following day. Colm Motherway, Lish Oh and Gwada Mike see out the festival. Gallaghers have Kate O’Connor, Mi Jazza, Fiona Dineen and more.

Clancys have Lady and the Amp, Harvey Kay, Happy Dayz, The Brightsides, and more while Conways Yard have Uncle Social Trio, Darragh Lee, Harvey Kay and many more. Reardens, Secret Garden, Goldbergs and many more venues will also have music line-ups and there are many more.

The Metropole as always will be one of the main places where people gather while the Imperial is another hotel with a busy weekend planned (and a new bar too!).

I’ll be holding it down in the River Lee on Friday and Sunday with guests Minnie Marley and Yves and they are hosting a big mix of live music in two rooms throughout the weekend!

That’s just a taster, let’s hope we can have a hint of normality this weekend!

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