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Limerick Jazz Festival returns in innovative post-COVID format

Limerick city will host a redesigned and innovative Limerick Jazz Festival, in September as organisers have adapted the festival to the new world following COVID-19.

The ninth annual festival runs for the week of September between the 21st and 27th, and will include the inaugural Young Irish Jazz Musician event, presented by Limerick Jazz in association with Improvised Music Company.

The festival has been redesigned in a very innovative way to respond to the restrictions imposed by the need to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

This year’s highlights include:

  • The final of Young Irish Jazz Musician 2020 in University Concert Hall, Limerick on the evening of Saturday 26 September. This is the first of what we plan to be a regular event to give a platform to the best of emerging Irish jazz talent. The competition is open to young jazz musicians aged 13 to 18 and details of how to apply can be found at The Young Irish Jazz Musician 2020 will get to make a professional studio recording, participate in UCH’s Rising Stars Concert, and receive a bursary to take part in an international summer school.
  • From Monday to Friday we will support the Irish jazz community by hosting online premieres of performances by leading musicians from across the island and abroad. Performers will include:
    • Linley Hamilton (Belfast)
    • Chris Guilfoyle’s Oxygen Thief (Dublin)
    • Paul Dunlea (Cork)
    • Matthew Berrill (Galway)
    • Eddie Lee (Sligo)
    • David O’Rourke (USA)
    • John Donegan (UK)
  • On 27 Sunday Dolan’s Warehouse will host a great afternoon of live music featuring the Joe O’Callaghan Trio, Michael Buckley’s House of Horns, Christine Tobin and Phil Robson and a first Limerick Jazz Festival appearance for Mary Coughlan.

Riverdance composer Bill Whelan welcomed the announcement of this year’s festival: “Limerick Jazz Festival has its roots in the vibrant local music scene. This year’s online events are a welcome shot in the arm for the entire jazz community in Ireland. Young Irish Jazz Musician 2020 is a great way of showcasing the young talent being developed across the country by many highly dedicated jazz educators.”

John Daly from the Limerick Jazz Festival said “We are delighted to announce this year’s festival. We have worked hard to develop a line-up that works in the unusual times we live in and hope that shows in the innovations we have made. Young Irish Jazz Musician 2020 is a natural development of our long-term commitment to jazz education and are working on plans to develop this even more in the future.”

Laura Ryan, Head of Marketing & Communications, Limerick City and County Council said: “Limerick Jazz Festival is now an established part of the city’s cultural calendar. It has shown great imagination and resilience with this year’s programme, and we look forward to its continued development in the future.”

Limerick Jazz Festival is promoted by the Limerick Jazz Society. It is supported by the Arts Council and Limerick City and County Council.

Limerick Jazz Festival is partnering with the Improvised Music Company for the Young Jazz Musician 2020.

Kenneth Killeen, Director of Improvised Music Company said: “IMC are thrilled to be developing this Young Musician of the Year award with Limerick Jazz and Limerick Jazz Festival. Providing a platform to spotlight and acknowledge formative jazz talent is crucial for the long term development and sustainability of this music, and will provide a fantastic opportunity for the inaugural winner in 2020.”

John Daly added: “Limerick Jazz are both thrilled and excited to be launching this is great initiative for our up and coming generation of jazz musicians and delighted to have IMC as a valued partner in making this event an integral part of the festival and its legacy for many years in to the future".

Limerick Jazz Society is the longest continually active jazz society in Ireland and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012 with the first Limerick Jazz Festival. Its regular spring and autumn seasons feature performances by leading international and Irish performers. Since 2007 it has also provided jazz education programs through Limerick Jazz Workshop, the only regular jazz workshop in Ireland outside Dublin. Limerick Jazz Society is a registered charity.

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