Cork Jazz Festival
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Cork Jazz Festival

Cork Jazz Festival
Festival logo (2010)
DatesLate October
Location(s)Cork, Ireland
Years active1978-present (41 years)

The Cork Jazz Festival is an annual music festival held in Cork City, Ireland in late October.[1] The first festival began on Friday 27 October 1978, and has been held every year since.[2]

The festival is Ireland's biggest jazz event and attracts hundreds of musicians and thousands of music fans to the city each year.[3]

Jim Mountjoy founded the festival in October 1978. Mountjoy was a marketing manager of the Metropole Hotel in the city at the time, and, faced with filling his property for the weekend, scheduled the first jazz festival to coincide with the newly instituted October bank holiday.[4][5]

A small committee was formed[6] and obtained sponsorship from John Player & Sons.[7] The country's first jazz festival successfully attracted thousands of jazz fans.[6]Guinness became the major sponsor in the 1980s.[7]

As festival director between 1978 and 1986,[8] Mountjoy also introduced a Pub Trail, a Jazz Boat (from the UK) and a Jazz Train (from Dublin) to expand the festival.[9] He also travelled to the UK, mainland Europe, Canada and the United States to promote the festival.[9]

Non-jazz artists also play at the festival - for example the 2015 line-up included Gary Numan, The Boomtown Rats, and The Coronas.[10] The inclusion of non-jazz performers prompted some analysts to query whether the "festival has strayed from its roots".[11]

Since the 1990s, average annual festival visitor numbers have exceeded 40,000 - with visitors travelling from many parts of the world.[1][3][12] In 2016, over 1,000 musicians from 20 countries were scheduled to perform to more than 40,000 visitors.[13]

To date, over one million jazz fans have visited Cork[5] to hear noted jazz musicians such as: Ella Fitzgerald, George Shearing, Mel Torme, Wynton Marsalis, Buddy Rich, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Cleo Laine, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Gerry Mulligan, Stéphane Grappelli, Sonny Rollins, Esbjorn Svensson Trio, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, Gregory Porter, Billy Cobham, Damon Albarn and others.

Jim Mountjoy, festival founder and director in the 1970s-80s (pictured 2017)


  1. ^ a b "Cork welcomes 45,000 revellers for recession-beating jazz festival". Irish Times. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ "How Jim Mountjoy's festival has Cork Jazzin' since 1978". Irish Examiner. 21 October 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Cork Jazz Festival on song to scoop business association award". Irish Examiner. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ "S.I. No. 91/1993 - Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973 (Public Holiday) Regulations, 1993". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Arts At Cork Jazz Festival, broadcast 11th Of October 2009". Sky Arts HD. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Cork Moments - RTÉ Radio 1 , broadcast on 27th Of October 2005". RTÉ Radio. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012.[1]
  7. ^ a b "Jazz festival chief hits out at lack of funding from State". Irish Independent Newspaper. 26 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Cork Archive Accession Number 2007/004". Cork Archive. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014.
  9. ^ a b "The Right Hook - NewsTalk 106-108fm broadcast on 21 October 2010 at 18:20". Newstalk Radio. Archived from the original on 3 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Gary Numan, The Boomtown Rats & Blackalicious lead Cork Jazz Festival charge". Hot Press. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "On the Record: The Cork Jazz Festival has strayed from its roots". Irish Times. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "Deep south beckons thousands to the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival". Irish Times. 5 October 1999.
  13. ^ "Cork Jazz Festival draws 40,000 fans and 1,000 musicians". Irish Times. 30 October 2016.

External links

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