It was Gemma Bell’s first year as festival manager for the event now in its 37th year. “It’s my first ever festival and it’s blown me away,” she said. “Doing a walk-around and seeing the sheer numbers of people on the streets and the atmosphere has been amazing.”
With some pubs reporting takings up 20% on last year, the 2015 festival was busier than ever. “We had pubs running out of beer,” Ms Bell said. “It’s early to say, but we estimate that ticket sales were up 10% on last year.”
Despite the packed venues, Ms Bell believes the festival can continue to grow and expand on this year’s success by using more temporary stages and getting more pubs and venues involved.
US jazz keyboardist Darius Brubeck, whose quartet played Sunday evening in The Everyman, was named as jazz personality of the festival.
Bassist and composer Marcus Miller picked up an award for jazz legend.
Korean-American alto-saxophonist Grace Kelly won a Rising Star award.
Manchester Mercury Award-winning three-piece Go Go Penguin received a standing ovation in Triskel Christchurch on Sunday for their filmic, highly innovative compositions, with drummer Rob Turner using Tibetan singing bowls, towels and fingertips as percussive weapons in a technical arsenal that left the intent audience agog.
“This is our first time in Cork,” their double bassist, Nick Blacka, said. “We arrived yesterday evening and went down the main street; it was definitely party time. We’re a little shell-shocked to be honest.”
Festival fatigue had set in by Sunday night for some. One gentleman, one of many revellers stocking up on calories in the city’s thronged fast food outlets in between gigs, was decidedly grumpy: “There was a great sax player on the street earlier; that was the best I’ve seen so far. Gary Numan? Pah! That’s not jazz. I’m off to Costigans.”