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Enjoy some sweet jazz right from your sofa

Music fans are gearing up to party from the comfort of their homes this weekend as the full line-up for the first ever online City of Derry Jazz Festival was confirmed by festival organisers Derry City and Strabane District Council.
 
The Virtual Jazz Festival Sofa Sessions will attempt to broadcast as much as possible of the music and activities from the original programme before the Covid 19 restrictions prevented the event going ahead in venues across the city.
 
“We have tried to retain as much of the themes and acts as possible and we would like to thank all the performers for accommodating us in doing that,” said Festival and Events Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Andrea Campbell.
 
“We want to bring the buzz, excitement and atmosphere of the festival to your home by continuing with our local celebration planned for Thursday, the Battle of the Atlantic and VE Day themed events on Friday and the Pure Jazz section of the programme on Saturday.
 
“The interactive online classes aim to make people feel more involved by offering activities they can do from their own living rooms.”
Festival and Events Manager Jacqueline Whoriskey added: “In putting together the programme we have made sure that local artists are well represented in line with the ethos of the festival.
 
“It’s a really tough time for them, and for all of the artists and bands involved, given the financial hit that they have had to endure in the past few months.
 
“This is the 19th year of the festival, and although it will certainly be much different to any that we have had before, we were determined that it would go ahead in some form, and we hope to return bigger and better than ever on our 20th anniversary next year.”
 
The Sessions kick off on Thursday May 7th with a celebration of local artists that had been scheduled for the Guildhall’s Main Hall.
 
Local legends Gay McIntyre, George Hasson and Mike Nielson will official open the festival with a premiering of their new compilation Danny Boy.
 
To celebrate the Battle of the Atlantic and VE Day 75th Anniversary, Friday’s programme will have a wartime classics theme with live performances from Jeep Johnson, Andrew Monk, Dave Martin and the Palais Swing Band.
 
Friday will also see the return of festival favourites The Jive Aces, The Ska BeatsHeavy Beat Brass Band and an exclusive performance by Mr Wilsons Second Liners.
 
Saturday’s programme is one for the purists with performances from acts who had been expected to perform at the festival’s popular Jazz Hubs in Bennigans Bar, Magee University and the Play House including an exclusive performance from New York by Randy Ingram and a live performance from Stevie and The G’s.
 
The Festival climaxes on Sunday May 10th with online broadcasts from local favourites Superstition, Dougie Breslin and Stephen McKeever.
 
The Virtual Festival is free to access but music fans are asked to consider making an online donation to the Mayor’s chosen charities, the Koram Centre in Strabane and Foyle Women’s Aid in the City.
 
The Covid 19 crisis has significantly restricted fundraising streams for all local charities and the closing of the Mayor’s Diary since mid March has led to the cancellation of a number of fund raising events including her Flag Day on St Patrick’s Day.
 
Online links to donate to The Koram Centre and Foyle Women’s Aid are live now at
 
The full lineup for the Virtual City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival – Sofa Sessions can be viewed now at cityofderryjazzfestival.com/.
You can watch the Sofa Sessions Virtual Jazz Festival on the facebook page @DerryJazzFestival.
 
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