26 May 2022

Jam-packed City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival is back

Jam-packed City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival is back

The Jazz and Big Band Festival returns to Derry after the 2020 and 2021 festivals were heavily restricted by COVID

The streets, bars and venues of Derry will come alive with the tones of jazz music once again as a full programme of City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival returns next month.

After reduced virtual festivals in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Derry City and Strabane District Council have announced the full return of one of the most well-loved events in the annual calendar.

Entering its 21st edition, the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival will take place over the May Bank Holiday, from Thursday April 28 to Monday May 2, with tens of thousands of people expected to flood the city.

From big headliners and fan favourites to local acts and new faces, as well as jazz workshops and dance classes, there will be so much to enjoy over the five days of Northern Ireland's biggest and best Jazz Festival.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said it was brilliant and exciting to see the Festival back in action.

"As Mayor, I am so delighted to launch this year's City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival which will see the return of thousands of people back into our city to enjoy some magnificent music and a great atmosphere," Mayor Warke said.

"This is one of the biggest events that we host and it's amazing to see it returning in its full format this year. 

"Our Council team have been working so hard to ensure that this is one of the biggest and best Jazz Festivals yet, and a look at the programme highlights how many exciting performances and other events that we have coming up.

"It's going to be a wonderful five days, so I'd encourage everyone to take a look at the programme and start planning out your weekend."

As part of the first City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival since the passing of the legendary Gay McIntyre, there will be many special tributes to one of the city's greatest Jazz sons. 

The Mayor, along with local jazz legends, will officially open this year's Jazz Festival in honour of Gay, while throughout the weekend the Gay McIntyre Stage in Guildhall Square will be the host of performances from a number of local schools and exciting bands as part of the Jazz Alfresco programme.

There will be a range of workshops and masterclasses throughout the Festival, including one from the National Youth Jazz Orchestra who will work with students to explore how to internalise the essential elements of music. 

Another interesting workshop will be the Jazz Shoes taking place in The Playhouse during the course of the weekend, with participants encouraged to get their dancing shoes ready for some Lindy Hop, Swing, Tap and Charleston.

The Jazz Hubs will also return this year to Bennigans Bar, The Playhouse and The Great Hall, Magee celebrating both local and visiting musicians and bands.

It will all come to a close on Monday May 2 with festival headliner and internationally renowned artist Imelda May taking to the stage at the Millennium Forum.

Jacqueline Whoriskey, Head of Festivals and Events with Council, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival back on our streets and in our local venues for what promises to be a great atmosphere and an amazing programme.

"There is always something very special about the buzz of the Jazz Festival over the May Bank Holiday weekend and we are so pleased to be welcoming back some incredible musicians and bands that many already know and love, as well as a few new faces too.

"There is going to be so much to enjoy and we are counting down the days until we see this wonderful event back in full action again."

For full listings for the 2022 City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival and all festival information, visit www. or download the What's On DS App from the App Store or Google Play.

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