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Ballydehob Jazz Festival saved

The Sandman 08 Apr 14 - 03:45 PM
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Subject: Ballydehob Jazz Festival saved
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 03:45 PM

t was almost lost due to a lack of funding and resources but, in a triumph of people-power, the eighth edition of the [url=]Ballydehob Jazz Festival[/url] will be launched this week.

"We want to get the message out there loud and clear that our festival is going ahead," said spokesman Joseph O'Leary.

The local resident and former singer with indie-pop band Fred now runs his family pub in the village.

For the past seven years, the boutique four-day event commanded a strong following among committed Jazz fans and ordinary punters alike.

It attracted some 5,000 visitors to the West Cork hamlet to enjoy performances by an eclectic mix of award-winning performers, Irish legends, and jazz greats such as the Nigel Mooney Quartet, the Neil Cowley Trio, Paddy Cole, Camille O'Sullivan, the East Coast Jazz band, and SoulDriven.

But last January it looked like the event was about to die a death, according to O'Leary: "We normally get funding from the Arts Council and the county council, as well as financial support from the local community, but this year we lost the Arts Council grant and the county council grant through an administrative error to do with the application.

"The festival takes a lot of work — it's completely non-profit and based on volunteer work so we needed volunteers."

Initially, he said, it looked like there would not be enough volunteers to organise and run it successfully.

"By late January, things looked bad but then the community stepped in."

A board of seven volunteers has now taken over the organisation of the festival while another 20 or so have made themselves available to help organise and manage the event, which features more than 50 different performances from big name concerts to small workshops between May 2 and 5.

Nigel Mooney is the headline act this year.

"Rural villages are under pressure, as is the rural pub, and the last thing we wanted to see was the festival dissolving — rural towns and villages survive on their summer tourism trade and the jazz festival attracts thousands of visitors," said O'Leary, adding that the launch of the event next Thursday would be a "triumph" for the local community.

"It will be bigger and better than ever," he added.

lBallydehob Jazz Festival will be launched at the Woodford on Paul St, Cork City, at 8pm this Thursday.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, April 07, 2014

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