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Cork Guinness Jazz Festival hits high note this weekend

By Sean O’Riordan

A parade of the dead has helped breathe new life into the Cork Guinness Jazz Festival.

The introduction of a New Orleans-style funeral parade to kick off the festival has been hailed as a major success.

Dia De Los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) jazz parade, which had more than 100 musicians taking part, attracted thousands into Cork city centre on Thursday night.

And it’s music to the ears of jazz lovers and to businesses in Cork, which are to benefit to the tune of €35m this weekend.

The biggest ever Cork Guinness Jazz Festival is in full swing, featuring more than 1,000 musicians performing at numerous venues across the city.

A major highlight of the 41st festival is the Guinness Music Pub Trail, which will bring a variety of diverse sounds to the city, with hundreds of music sessions popping up across more than 40 locations.

Visitors can enjoy a wider choice of fringe events this year with free entertainment in some 70 city hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Performers will also take to the city streets, getting involved in a light projection show, flashmobs, swing jive, Jazz Camp workshops, and on a jazz bus circling the city.

The organisers have introduced a food experience where one can enjoy some local produce with a pint of stout amid sounds of jazz in a number of venues across the city. Restaurants including the Courtyard on Sober Lane, Electric, the Cornstone, and the Oliver Plunkett are participating.

The four restaurants have worked with Guinness to create bespoke dishes for the festival weekend, including a full Irish pizza with Clonakilty black pudding, Loughnane’s sausage, and McCarthy’s bacon, mushroom, and Bandon eggs on a sourdough base.

The Electric duck burger comes with chicken liver parfait, fennel, apple, celeriac, and chips, while there’s a Guinness and seafood classic in its truest form — mussels in a creamy sauce and locally sourced lamb and Guinness stew from the English Market.

Guinness Cork Jazz festival director Sinéad Dunphy said organisers are delighted to see so many visitors gathering from near and far.

This year’s headline acts include UK soul songstress and two-time Mobo award winner Laura Mvula, who will perform in City Hall tonight.

The Blind Boys of Alabama take to the stage at Cork City Hall, a new venue for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. The festival runs until Monday

Grammy award-winning Maria Schneider and her orchestra, making their first ever Irish appearance, will take to the stage in City Hall tomorrow night.

There will be more than 700 Mytaxi vehicles around Cork City over the weekend.

Bus Éireann will operate late-night buses to Ballincollig, Blarney, Carrigaline, and Midleton, with stops in between, departing from the city centre at 1am, 2am, and 3am.

Meanwhile, Cork Airport marketing manager Kevin Cullinane said it expects to handle more than 45,000 passengers this weekend, with many coming into to the city specifically to see the jazz festival.

For full details of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, go to