Cork Jazz Weekend returns with a bang

With the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival “back in full swing” for another busy bank holiday weekend, the Metropole Hotel welcomes guests from all over the world.

The Echo met some of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival’s most loyal fans.

Susie Fry has been coming to the Metropolis for nearly two decades.

The Mayo native travels from Castlebar every year to experience the special atmosphere created by jazz.

Jazz Festival 2022. Photo: John Cronin” title=”Gogo Penguin at the Everyman for the opening night of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2022. Photo: John Cronin” class=”card-img”/>
Gogo Penguin at the Everyman for the opening night of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2022. Photo: John Cronin

“It’s a real tradition for us, we’re looking forward to this weekend.” She said: “We come to Jazz every year. This should be our 19th year ahead but as you know with Covid we missed that year.

This year, the Jazz Festival is back after its covid break.

“I don’t know what we did this Halloween weekend when it wasn’t, but we certainly missed it. We went downhill last year as things slowly came back after the pandemic It just wasn’t as good it felt so stiff compared to how free jazz usually is It just wasn’t quite back to itself but this year it really seems back in motion.

Evandro Herrandes and Jessica Ferrazza at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival club at the Metropole Hotel last night.  Image;  Eddie O'Hare
Evandro Herrandes and Jessica Ferrazza at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival club at the Metropole Hotel last night. Image; Eddie O’Hare

“We really like to find a good place and listen to jazz, we’ve found a great one now here,” said Susie as she sat in the cozy tearooms of the Metropole Hotel.

Fry points out that in addition to the music itself, the social aspect of the festival is what makes it so special; “We met a friend from Dublin here several years ago and kept in touch and every year we have a catch up, it’s lovely.”

As the original location of the festival, the Métropole began hosting this special weekend on the calendar 44 years ago in 1978.

Paul, Roz, Katie and Ollie Dyer at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival club at the Metropole Hotel last night.  Image;  Eddie O'Hare
Paul, Roz, Katie and Ollie Dyer at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival club at the Metropole Hotel last night. Image; Eddie O’Hare

Eamonn Cassidy, the hotel’s concierge, was keen to share the hotel’s important role in the festival over the decades; “The Metropolis is the homeland of Jazz, that’s where it all started.”

“Originally there was a jazz scene in Cork in the 70s. The extra bank holiday was added to the calendar and they thought why not launch a festival for the Jazz scene. This is how the festival was born, and it has gone from strength to strength ever since.

The Metropole Hotel hosts around 45-50 bands playing throughout the weekend.

The Hyde Park Brass performing on Harley's Street next to the Metropole Hotel for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.  Guinnesscorkjazz.com
The Hyde Park Brass performing on Harley’s Street next to the Metropole Hotel for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Guinnesscorkjazz.com

Inviting jazz lovers from near and far, the October bank holiday weekend provides a boost to Cork’s local economy.

“Jazz is always a very positive time of year. Basically, it brings around 40-50,000 people to the city from all over the world from Friday to Monday.

“MacCurtain Street in particular is always very busy, there are lots of restaurants, bars and jazz spirited theaters,” Cassidy said.

The first day of the 44th Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.  As well as bands playing in venues, the streets of Cork City host impromptu concerts.  <a class=Jazz band ‘TBL8 Brass’ from Dublin played outside the Main Post Office on Oliver Plunkett Street. Photo: Andy Gibson.” title=”The first day of the 44th Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. As well as bands playing in venues, the streets of Cork City host impromptu concerts. Jazz band ‘TBL8 Brass’ from Dublin played outside the Main Post Office on Oliver Plunkett Street. Photo: Andy Gibson.” class=”card-img”/>
The first day of the 44th Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. As well as bands playing in venues, the streets of Cork City host impromptu concerts. Jazz band ‘TBL8 Brass’ from Dublin played outside the Main Post Office on Oliver Plunkett Street. Photo: Andy Gibson.

Mr Cassidy also said the atmosphere at the Jazz Weekend was magical.

“There is a whole different atmosphere in the city during the Jazz weekend. People really let go and are ready to have fun in another kind of music.

“There’s a bit of magic in there.” “We get a large number of international visitors to the hotel. There are a lot of people from the UK this weekend, a large crowd from Norway in particular. People have even traveled from as far away as Sydney and the He has such a brilliant draw to the hotel from home and away every year.”

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