8 Things We Loved About Dejazz
The consensus seems to be that this year’s jazz festival may have been the best yet. Here are eight reasons we thought it was ‘the job’ from start to finish…
We love that Corkonian defiance of an approaching winter – even after a recent hurricane. Even though temperatures were peaking at about fourteen or fifteen degrees Rebels were still sauntering around town in t-shirts and shorts like it was the middle of June. For some it’s to show off the manky tats but for most it’s to defy that langer known as ‘winter’. After Ophelia, Mother Nature rewarded us with ‘extreme mildness setting us up nicely for a top weekend.
Patrick Street, Grand Parade, Paul Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and many of the side streets in between were lined with buskers from Friday morning until Monday night. From four piece jazz funk outfits to big brass bands brought to town by the festival. The sight of the OhnO! Jazz Band blasting out tunes from an open top bus added spectacularly to the buzz.
The Jazz Parade
This is one of the great recent additions to the jazz festival. It gives the smallies of Cork a chance to witness a big musical parade close up. And sure who doesn’t love a parade, like?
Emmet Place Stage & Market
As well as all the random buskers dotted around town the stage outside the Crawford Art Gallery and Cork Opera House is a genius stroke by the festival organisers. Highly mobile acoustic brass bands who are brought to town to roam the streets playing their sets rotate on the stage in the afternoon while bigger names like Cork’s Brian Deady and Paddy Casey played full sets on Friday evening.
Emmet Place is a magnificent and underused spot so bringing crowds away from Patrick Street and other thoroughfares with music and an open air market is wise use of the city’s very limited number of big open spaces.
Mol An Óige agus Jazzfaidh Siad
They can’t advertise it because the festival is sponsored by an alcohol brand but to encourage people to bring their kids along to the festival they laid on little gigs for smallies and a buggy parking room on the ground floor of the Metropole. Maith sibh.
While the festival centres heavily around the consumption of alcohol and the so-called “Beamish Ban” isn’t liked by many loyal the PROC’s anecdotal messiness detector showed a noticeable decrease in people acting the langer too.
A few of us left our bikes in the middle of town on Saturday afternoon and didn’t go to collect them until Tuesday. As you approach the bike stand where you left your pride and joy you often feel a sense of impending naivety – hoping your trust in Cork is justified.
As we expected deep down, all bikes were exactly as we had left them.
If this was Dublin, within an hour those bikes would have their wheels stomped on by an angry man in a tracksuit called ‘Jayo’, the saddles thrown into the Liffey by marauding youths and the frames melted down and injected into the arm of someone with a voice like a vuvuzela.
Tons of Visitors
Who the hell do these foreigners think they are coming over here obeying our laws and patiently waiting for pedestrian lights to turn green even though the traffic on both sides of Pana is wedged to a standstill?!
Isn’t it brilliant to see so many tourists on the streets marvelling at the place they are slowly realising they wish they were from? You can even see some of the more super-serious northern European types lightening up as they pass yet another group of talented street musicians and a sea of adorning new fans.
The Return of the Mac
It has had its challenges over the last decade – probably peaking with the closure of the iconic Crowley’s musical instrument store – but MacCurtain Street is back and better than ever despite the slightly cringing rebranding as ‘The Victorian Quarter’ (Tomás MacCurtain would turn in his grave if he knew the Famine Queen’s name was back up in lights!).
From lunchtime until well after 2am all through last weekend the paths were packed on both sides as happy punters made their way from gig to burger to pint and back again.
With the Everyman, Gallaghers, Brú, The Shelbourne, The White Rabbit and the festival club at the Metropole on this 300 metre strip you wouldn’t even have to leave the street to have a massive weekend – that’s before you consider the amazing range of sit-down food options: sushi, pizza, barbeque ribs, kebabs, high end gourmet, Indian and of course fresh fish and chips.
With the concrete pillars and devoted crowds those not familiar with the area might confuse it with Mahon Point Shopping Centre but the all new Páirc Uí Chaoimh is more than a smell of coffee, big brands and long lines of traffic.