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Jazz it up at #Icon19!

After the crescendo from our final plenary sessions has subsided, it’s time to relax and have fun!

But we’ve all been to conferences where all that energy briskly evaporates after the final speaker – and often, chances to consolidate your networking evaporate too!

Feedback from our last conference, Turn and Face the Change in Birmingham 2016, indicated that our delegates place a high value on ever-more chances to network, meet new colleagues and keep up with friends – and so this year’s triennial conference in Belfast sees the addition of a brand-new feature into the programme to do just that!   

After the final plenary sessions, we’ll be unwinding in style aboard a vintage steam locomotive for a mighty chug along the local railway network. We’ll be leaving the city behind and taking in Belfast and the vicinity with a cash bar and jazz band to keep us amused en route.  At regular intervals, the train will stop to give us the chance to stretch our legs on the platform– and dance!

Adding some spark to our journey will be the Jazz Band, well-known as one of Northern Ireland's best Dixieland bands.  Their repertoire will take us back to the heady days of the early 20th century, and the traditional Delta strains of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and King Oliver.

The event was the brainchild of Siobhan Stevenson, Chair of Icon’s Board of Trustees and Belfast resident.  ‘I’ve been on the Steam and Jazz Night many times, and the thing that makes it great is that it’s wonderful to be on a steam train – and also wonderfully surreal to be jumping out and dancing on the platforms along the way!’ 

Our journey will take us to Whitehead Railway Museum, where we’ll have a bite and a good look round before climbing back on board the train.  The Museum is a relatively new addition to the local scene, opening in 2017.   We’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with some of the magnificent steam locomotives in the collection of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland – a society founded in 1964 to preserve historic Irish locomotives and running stock, keeping them in running order and regularly steaming along the Irish railway network.

With the full range of events on offer at #Icon19, not to mention two full days of conference sessions, Steam Jazz Night is the perfect way to unwind with friends and colleagues and provide that much-needed head space to transition from the conference wonderworld back into real life.

‘It is definitely an unforgettable experience,’ laughs Siobhan, ‘and the cash bar certainly helps as well!’ 

Flapper outfits optional.


Image: Visit Belfast


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