Tag Archives: cork jazz festival

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival – holy wow

Tuesday morning was tough. Not so much the alarm going off or the early start, more the realisation I was no longer in Cork. Not my first Guinness Cork Jazz Festival weekend but my first time really throwing myself into it and I absolutely loved it.

From the sound of musicians rehearsing floating down the hotel hallway to the mixture of ages and cultures of those attending the various gigs around the city it was a fantastic inspiring experience helped in no small way by the fact that Cork is by far the best city in Ireland (there will be an entire post about that alone!).


YolanDa Brown
YolanDa Brown

My favourite gig over the entire weekend was saxophonist YolanDa Brown on Sunday at The Savoy. I danced and swayed my way happily through set and can’t wait to get my mits on her album. She’s gorgeous, she’s energetic and a seriously talented musician. Herself and her band get top marks for their rendition of Summertime – a song that naturally appeared on setlists all through the weekend. If you’re not sure where to begin with trying your ear at some jazz, start with YolanDa.

Yurodny took to the stage of the beautiful Everyman Palace Theatre on Saturday afternoon. A lively and masterful performance from the Dublin-based ensemble of strings, wind and percussion with their Eastern European influences shining through.

On Saturday evening, the Monty Alexander Trio opened for Kurt Elling. A lovely mellow sound created with drum, bass and piano with Jamaican and American influences woven throughout, they delivered a superb set that seemed to please both the jazz connoisseur and the passing admirer. Notable moments included their gorgeous version of No Woman No Cry and a nice bit of improv featuring the Beverly Hills Cop theme tune.

My first adventures in swing dancing were interesting and lots of fun at Harlem Night 1930 where swing dance moves were demonstrated on stage to swing newbies (like myself). Most of the crowd were quite into their swing dancing and were amazing to watch in their gorgeous 30′s outfits.

Jazz mass‘ was probably one of the more bizarre experiences of the weekend with Danish band Bla Mondag and an African gospel choir interwoven into the service at the famous St. Anne’s Church at Shandon.


No festival with such a huge volume of stuff is without disappointments here and there. I hit mine on Saturday night at Kurt Elling at the Everyman. While it was billed as one of the ‘not to be missed’ gigs of the weekend, I felt it was more of an endurance than an experience. As I said in my tweets, his singing was flat and the improv too long-winded and uninspiring. Hats off to his grammy award-winning saxophonist – amazing musician – just a shame he didn’t see more of the limelight.

Despite the fact the festival is always held on the October Bank Holiday weekend, some things like hotel and drink prices seem to get rather inflated. For example, a paper cup of filter coffee at the Festival Club was a slightly saucy €3 and in another venue (can’t recall where, there were many!) a quarter bottle of red wine was €6.

So much to see, hear & do

Harlem Nights 1930
Harlem Nights 1930

I quite honestly can’t recall all the bands and singers I listened to over the weekend, mainly with the sheer volume of stuff on at the Festival Club at the Metropole. The Festival Club consisted of 5 ballrooms in one huge hotel constantly rotating through a huge schedule of jazzy acts from lunchtime till the early hours. There almost wasn’t a door in the city be it theatre, pub, hotel or even shop that didn’t have some kind of jazz flowing out of it either!

Apart from the quick swing dancing lesson at the Firkin Crane, I didn’t get a chance to try out any of the workshops, masterclasses or check out the festival fringe events.

Cork is a fantastic city and the  Jazz Festival just seems to set the place alight. It was simply buzzing with energy, happy faces and tapping toes (and possibly the odd sore head too!). It’s a wonderful weekend, even for someone like me who has always been more of an ‘all genres of music’ enthusiast than a jazz fan.

Darragh has some superb videos and photos in the production pipeline, I’ll leave him to put into his own words how his first Cork Jazz Festival was suffice to say I think we’ll both be doing our best to get back there for the Cork Jazz Festival 2010!

Thanks to WHPR and Guinness for everything over the weekend and congrats to all involved on a wonderful festival.

Saturday afternoon at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

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So far so great. The Festival Club has provided most of my jazz so far today with 5 ballrooms in the roomy Gresham Metropole continuously rotating between a phenomenal list of acts and bands all day and almost all night too!

The Garda Jazz band played to a packed room of young and old an everyone between while prior to that Yurodny brought the house down at The Everyman with an Eastern European flavour incorporating string, brass and percussion.

Looking forward to Kurt Elling and some more Festival Club later – much dancing to be done!

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

logoIt’s hard to believe it’s been a year since my first Jazz Festival weekend but here we are once again, it’s the October Bank Holiday weekend and time to hit Cork for one of the best weekends of music & entertainment.

Darragh has given a run down of some of the tasty jazzy action on offer over on his blog. I’m going to offer up some more practical advice, kind of like your mammy might do as you head off to your first music festival.


If you’re heading to Cork specifically to check out the festival, even at this late stage, try to get some kind of a plan together. There’s so much stuff on it can be a little overwhelming and like me last year, you can spend the weekend hopping from place to place hitting and missing the music. Have a look at what’s on and tick a few boxes.


While a lot of the gigs are free, some still require tickets. Others you will need to purchase in advance either online or from the venues around town. Cork Jazz weekend is a very popular event and tickets get snapped up quickly so if you’ve your eye on a particular gig, get your tickets sorted in advance asap to avoid disappointment.


Possibly one more for the attention of the ladies headed out this weekend :) The Jazz Festival gigs and events are spread out over many different venues all over Cork. It’s quite likely that over the weekend or even just one night, you’re going to be rambling from pillar to post around the city and those poor little tootsies are going to be under pressure. If you simply can’t do without your fabulous new stilettos maybe pop a wee pair of flats in the handbag too.


One of the highlights from last year (while not strictly under the Jazz Festival umbrella) was the Oktoberfest experience at the Franciscan Well pub & micro-brewery. Expect to find a fantastic selection of fine beers from the continent to delight your tastebuds while munching on something just as tasty from the yummy outdoor barbecue. Be warned however, it’s a popular spot and the good folk at the Franciscan regulate numbers through the evening so if you want in, be there by early evening.

I’ll be hopping about from gig to gig over the weekend and hopefully calling into the Oktoberfest for a Tweet-up too! Keep an eye on #corkjazz on Twitter for photos and updates. See you out there!

Fancy a festival or few?

Absolut Fringe wrapped up last night with the Absolut Fringe Awards but don’t think that because Fringe has passed for another year that you’re going to he short of things to do for the next few weeks. There’s heaps of stuff on around the country. Here’s a taster of what’s on out and about over the next while…

The National Ploughing Championships

This week the annual National Ploughing Championships hits Athy, Co.Kildare. Probably the last event of the year that you’ll need your wellies for and a sign that summer has sadly come to an end. The event is in its 78th year and as usual thousands are expected to visit the 600 acre site between Tuesday and Thursday of this week.  Check out www.npa.ie for all the info you need.

Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival

Kicking off this Thursday the 24th in spectacular style with Playhouse and running until October 11th, the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival will be offering up a range of performances, talks and special events all across Dublin. Check out the programme here, the blog here and DTF on Facebook and on Twitter.

Galway Oyster Festival

The 55th Galway Oyster Festival kicks off this Thursday (which is also Arthur’s Day) with the annual Irish Oyster Opening Championships. Aside from the the oyster tasting and Guinness to wash them down, it’s party central with the Magnificent Mardi Gras Party on Friday and the Oyster Festival Gala Ball on Saturday. The full programme is right here.

Culture Night

Culture Night is happening this coming Friday the 25th of September and there’s over 400 different events on around Dublin and around the country including Mayo, Cork, Galway, Belfast, Letterkenny, Limerick, Roscommon, Sligo, Tralee, Waterford and Wexford. There’s just so much happening I’ve been trying to write a blog post about it for days now! Check the website here for the programme, interactive maps and all the other info you could need. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter too.

Open House

The fourth annual Open House event takes place in Dublin from October 8th to 11th and in Galway from October 16th to 18th. Organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF), a range of free tours and talks are organised to some of the most architecturally renowned buildings of each city. Check out the programme here and be sure to book tickets in advance as these events fill up really quickly!

Cork Guinness Jazz Festival

The 31st Cork Guinness Jazz Festival hits the fair city of Cork on the October bank holiday weekend, kicking off on the 23rd and running through to the 26th with more live gigs and workshops than you can shake a stick at. Check out what’s on at www.guinnessjazzfestival.com.

Wexford Opera Festival

If opera is your thing then Wexford is the place to visit between October 21st and November 1st when the 58th Wexford Opera Festival takes place. There’s concerts, choirs, recitals of national and international fame on the bill. Have a peek at the full programme is online here.