Brought to you by the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.
The city will be hopping for the entire weekend.
And if you’re planning your Guinness Cork Jazz Weekend shenanigans, there’s something for everybody eager to soak up the supreme vibes across the bank holiday, October 26th to 30th, 2023.
As seasoned ‘jazzers’ will tell you, some the best performances are often spontaneous.
That’s why, in addition to hitting the headline shows, it’s worth heading off the beaten track and taking a stroll around parts of town where some of the more unexpected Cork Jazz Festival fun happens.
Plenty of it is completely free and happening outdoors – ideal if you’d like to soak up the atmosphere al fresco.
From a small jazz parade and big brass bands to solo sax players, local and visiting international musicians will be popping up all over the city and there’s also lots happening over the weekend in Douglas and Kinsale.
Here’s where to catch the best fringe events:
1. Look out for the Big Jazz Bus
You can’t miss it; the open-top Big Jazz Bus makes a welcome return to the festival from Friday on and will tour the city until Sunday with lively bands on board. Listen out; you’ll hear it coming.
2. Feel the Beat on the Street
Enjoy happy jazz from some of Europe’s best marching bands as they parade the city streets on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
This year’s entertainment will be provided by the New York Brass Band, Hyde Park Brass Band, BoolaBoom, Lamarotte, Code of Behaviour, Tbl8 Brass Band, Rebel Brass Band, and the Brass Kings, who will be performing all over Cork City Centre.
3. Take a Jazz Boat Journey
Led by New Yorker Jerron Paxton as part of the Guinness Cork Jazz this year, five exclusive performances will happen as an audience sails around Cork Harbour from Custom House Quay.
US musician Paxton has been legally blind since his teens, but his ability to tap into traditional American music reveals a perceptiveness and focus that few others are able to achieve.
This one is happening throughout the festival from Friday, October 27th and you can book a seat (€55) here.
4. Follow the Jazz Parade
New this year is the Oliver Plunkett Street Stroll on Friday evening at 6pm, October 27th. You’ll be in for a treat as a number of marching bands take over Oliver Plunkett Street with a special cacophony of music in a mini jazz parade.
5. Jazz, brews and river views
Jazz by the Riverside takes place on Bank Holiday Monday with New York Brass Band live in the Riverside Bar of the River Lee Hotel on Western Road.
This is an excellent spot to enjoy a bit to eat too – there’s an excellent menu of small plates and heartier options.
6. Catch some Jazz on the Plaza
Visiting international bands will tour the city throughout the weekend, performing on the super dome stage at Emmet Place as part of Jazz on the Plaza. This is a great spot to meet up with mates or to hang out if you’ve got kids in town.
7. Live at the Library
Swing by Cork City Library on the Grand Parade on October 25th, 26th, and 27th for some fascinating talks on the history of jazz all over the world.
The first talk is Discovering Japanese Jazz, a presentation on the history of Japanese Jazz and its place in the jazz scene, presented by Dr. Ian Darrington MBE.
More details here.
8. Jazz in Elizabeth Fort
Help support the jazz musicians of the future as Music Generation takes to the stage in Elizabeth Fort on Barrack Street. It’s the perfect safe spot for family fun from 2pm – 5pm on Saturday, October 28th.
9. Jazz Gospel Service
Join St. Anne’s celebratory and spiritual Harvest Jazz Service at Cork’s iconic church. Promising a morning of jazz joy, this is a free event, but tickets are required for entry.
Tickets are available from St. Anne’s, Shandon and the Jazz Committee – it all happens at St. Anne’s Church, Shandon at 10.45am on Monday, October 30th.
10. Jazz by the sea
Lamorotte Brass Band are performing on the streets of Kinsale from 1pm on Saturday and other acts lined up to perform over the weekend include The Billy Crosbie Trio, The Underscore Orkestra, The Paul O’Donnell Musical Collective, Chris Hayward with Cancan French Trio, The Cormac McCarthy Quarter, Dr. Dec & The Side Effects, Lucas D and the Groove Ghetto, String fellows, Two Time Polka, The Boogie Band, Loose Change, Bought ‘n‘ Sold, Southern Soul, 4 Shades of Gray, the Jay Hayward Band, Kevin Mac and The Vintage Band, and many more.
The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival takes place over the October bank holiday weekend (Thursday, October 26th October to Monday 30th, 2023). Celebrating its 45th year, the jam-packed weekend of eclectic performances features the finest international jazz artists, a stellar line-up of Irish and emerging talent who are pushing the boundaries of the genre, and five days of thrilling entertainment.
Worth over €45m to the local economy, the festival smashed all records last year attracting more than 100,000 people to the city. This year’s expanded programme features an extra date, with more than 100 ticketed shows (a 40% increase), more than 500 musicians from over 40 countries, and an extended music trail in 73 pubs, theatres, clubs and hotel venues across Cork city, Douglas and Kinsale.
For more see guinnesscorkjazz.com.