UPBEAT hoteliers in Cork say rooms across the city are on course to sell out for the Jazz weekend, with numbers up on last year.
The October Bank Holiday weekend, when the festival comes to town, is traditionally the busiest period for Cork’s hospitality sector.
And with less than two weeks to go until the festival kicks off, hotel chiefs say they expect trade to be far stronger than last year, with all beds expected to be snapped up.
Roger Russell, general manager of the Gresham Metropole on MacCurtain Street, described the Guinness Cork Jazz festival – as “recession proof”.
“Four years ago during the boom we’d have been booked out at this stage. But rooms have sold earlier this year than last and we’re nearly full.
“Prices of rooms are about €60 cheaper than what they were in 2007. But the festival goes from strength to strength every year.
“However bad a recession is, people will always save up to come here because of the quality of what’s on offer.”
More than 1,000 musicians – including headline acts Herbie Hancock, the Brand New Heavies and Maceo Parker – from 29 countries will perform in 80 venues.
The Clarion hotel in the city centre is also expected to fill up as jazz-lovers take over Cork for four days.
Raymond Kelleher, sales and marketing manager, said: “The jazz weekend is the one weekend in the year where we as a hotel can command very good rates and this is due to demand.
“Our room rate is down approximately 10%-15% on the boom years up to 2007, but overall the rates received during the jazz weekend are very strong.
“Our lead selling rates are from €140 room only for Friday, €180 room only for Saturday and €150 for Sunday night, but as we fill up we will be increasing the rates.
“It’s always the busiest time of year in Cork and were already full for Saturday, with a few rooms left on the Sunday nights and about 30 rooms are still available for Friday, which is far better than last year.”
Almost 60 pubs will be offering free live music as part of the popular Guinness Music Trail. Philip Gillivan, who runs the Shelbourne Bar on MacCurtain Street, said: “ It’s like having three weeks’ trade in one weekend.
“I’m very hopeful we’ll do well once again. More and more people have been staying at home and not going to pubs as much as they used to, but they always tend to come out in a big way for this.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved