Our Story

Our Story

Jazz is the music of improvisation. No boundaries. No barriers. City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival reflects just that. A musical legacy open to all. We invite you to get involved in the 20th year of this world-renowned celebration of all things jazz.

Originally launched in 2001 by Gerry McColgan (former Derry City Council), City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival has become part of the fabric of the people, the culture and the life of Derry-Londonderry ever since. Inspired by the Cork Jazz Festival, Gerry and his colleague Johnny Murray (who managed the Rialto Theatre) wanted to combine the city’s rich musical reputation, it’s unique history, and the abundance of local jazz talent on it’s doorstep.

In it’s first year, the Festival saw 6,000 people attend. Success was built on the high quality artists and music that featured in each event, a standard which has continued year on year building to hundreds of acts playing over 70 venues, with over 70,000 visitors travelling from all over the world. Supported by the Council, sponsors, venues, and musicians, the Festival has evolved into a world-renowned destination for jazz lovers. Above all, it is truly the people of the city and the supporters of the Festival who have made it the success it is today.

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