Jazz Cancellations Across North and South of Ireland

The Northern Ireland jazz scene regularly crosses over into the Republic, as musicians constantly work both sides of the border, yet, like so many, their careers have been badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic

Jim Beard and Jon Herington are among those whose gigs have fallen by the wayside
Jim Beard and Jon Herington are among those whose gigs have fallen by the wayside

The Brilliant Corners festival in Belfast might have been lucky to have taken place just before the crisis hit, but a slew of other events have not been so fortunate. Derry, whose jazz festival usually runs in May and is the biggest in Northern Ireland, was cancelled just as the organisers were about to reveal its full 2020 listings. US pianist Michael Kanan, who was touring with Conor Murray and David Lyttle, has had to cancel a string of dates; and the Steely Dan-associated keys/guitar duo of Jim Beard and Jon Herington also saw gigs cancelled, including planned appearances in Portstewart and in Sligo. The Good Noise, in residence at Enniskillen’s Lough Inn, have also pulled their latest planned gig. 

In the Republic of Ireland, Dublin jazz promoter and artist manager Dominic Reilly commented on these dramatic moves: ''Dublin is just about on lockdown. A certain number of people are still going into work, but all bars, clubs and events have shut down.’’

In a hammer blow for jazz in the west of Ireland has come news that this summer's Sligo Jazz Festival and its attendant summer schools, some of the most significant happenings in Ireland’s jazz calendar, have been called off – another casualty of the ongoing health crisis. On Instagram, festival director Eddie Lee and the Sligo Jazz Project team summarised their decision: ''It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that, due to the massive uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, we have no choice but to cancel our July summer school and festival event. We put so much energy and time into SJP, we will really feel a huge void in our lives this year.

"As soon as the crisis has passed rest assured we will again be programming great year-round performance and education events here in Sligo and Leitrim. We know that we will then come back stronger and with an even more love-filled event in 2021. We have already booked the entire summer school faculty and are confident that we will have a supercharged SJP in place in 2021.'' 

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