Derry City and Strabane District Council have announced the delivery of a virtual City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.
The annual event was due to take place in venues across the city area next month but was cancelled due to COVID-19. However, Council have instead put together a digital programme that will be broadcast as a live event on the City of Derry Jazz Festival Facebook each day from Thursday May 7th to Sunday May 10th – called the ‘Virtual Jazz Festival…Sofa Sessions’.
People will be able to see and hear from their favourite bands and artists, as well as taking part in some jazz dance classes.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Michaela Boyle said the online festival will help lift spirits.
“There is always such a buzz around Derry and the whole district when the Jazz Festival rolls around every year and while we will unfortunately have to miss out on that this time, I think this is a brilliant way of recreating a bit of that excitement and atmosphere in our own homes.
“There’s nothing quite like a bit of toe-tapping and catchy music to lift your spirits and ease life’s anxieties, and this revised online programme gives us all something to look forward to – which is exactly what we all need right now – and with over 30 artists and bands taking part there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
“I want to thank Council’s Culture Department for their hard work in putting this programme together. I’m certainly looking forward to a bit of jiving and singing!”
Jacqueline Whoriskey, Council’s Festival & Events Manager, said they felt it was hugely important to keep the festival going, albeit in a different capacity.
“The Virtual Jazz Festival… Sofa Sessions is an opportunity to celebrate artists from our own district and from all over the world, and we felt that now, more than ever, it was imperative that we find a way to do that.
“In putting together the programme we have made sure that local artists are well represented in line with the ethos of the festival.
“It’s a really tough time for them, and for all of the artists and bands involved, given the financial hit that they have had to endure in the past few months.
“This is the 19th year of the festival, and although it will certainly be much different to any that we have had before, we were determined that it would go ahead in some form, and we hope to return bigger and better than ever on our 20th anniversary next year.”
For more on the Virtual Jazz Festival… Sofa Sessions programme of events, visit https://cityofderryjazzfestival.com/.