The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival has become the latest victim of the Covid-19 pandemic, in a huge blow to the local economy.
A mainstay of the Irish cultural calendar for more than 40 years, the music extravaganza is the highlight of the October Bank Holiday weekend and attracts some 40,000-plus people to Cork city.
The event, worth in excess of €30m to the local economy, routinely draws more than 1,000 musicians from dozens of countries with revellers treated to hundreds of shows in more than 70 venues in the city.
However, the 43rd installation of the festival will not now go ahead as planned in October due to Covid-19.
Like many many others, I’m very disappointed that Cork Jazz Festival has been cancelled because of Covid-19, but it is the right thing to do. Solid and responsible leadership in the interest of public health being shown by the team at @corkjazzfest— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) July 3, 2020
Organisers said the current Government restrictions on indoor and outdoor activities, with the requirement for physical distancing, meant that it was not feasible to run the event this year.
They confirmed the festival will return as normal in 2021.
The decision will come as a huge blow to pubs, hotels, restaurants and all businesses across the city that are already reeling after months of lockdown measures to battle the pandemic.
We know that this announcement will be disappointing for music fans, artists, publicans and the wider Cork community but their health and safety is our number one priority.
"We look forward to bringing back a strong, exciting and memorable Festival in 2021," organisers said in a statement.
Chair of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival Fiona Collins said the decision to cancel the festival was made to "safeguard the health of our visitors, volunteers and the community" but that organisers "look forward to bringing back a strong, exciting and memorable Festival in 2021.”
Sponsor Guinness said it is very proud of its 42-year heritage of jazz in Cork and is "fully committed to continuing to support the Festival Committee, its local Cork trade customers, and the local and international artists involved in the creation of an exciting 2021 Guinness Cork Jazz".
Due to COVID-19 and current Government restrictions, we regret to confirm the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival will not take place in 2020. We look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2021 for a triumphant return.https://t.co/tOVlMFz9ep#GuinnessCorkJazz #CorkJazz pic.twitter.com/sC5i3tzm11— Guinness Cork Jazz (@corkjazzfest) July 3, 2020
CEO of Cork Chamber Conor Healy said that, although the announcement was not a surprise, it would come as a major blow to businesses across the city.
“The cancellation of this year's jazz festival is disappointing, but not unexpected in the context of safeguarding public health, and adhering to the public health measures in place. It is undoubtedly a blow for the local economy and all aspects of the hospitality industry," he said.
Last year's event attracted top international acts like the Grammy award-winning jazz singer, Kurt Elling and 2018 jazz pianist of the year, Fred Hersch, who performed as part of a double bill with the world-famous Northern Irish trumpeter, Linley Hamilton, in the Everyman Theatre. Motown diva, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were also a huge draw in 2019.