Festival fever

Posted on: 11th April, 2017

Category: News

Contributor: Mark Holland

Hunky Dory Music Shop in Spiller’s Lane, Clonakilty stocks a huge range of instruments, accessories, CDs and vinyl. Contact Mark on 023 8834982 or pop in to have a listen.


The clocks have just gone forward to give us another hour’s daylight in the evenings and until they go back at the end of October it’s festival season!  The Fiddle Fair in Baltimore over the May bank holiday weekend kicks it all off for us, the sweetest of the long weekends, we’re charmed if the weather is pleasant, or even better, and if not, sure it’s early days yet. The festival programme begins on Wednesday, May 3 through to Sunday, May 7, and as always, will be serving up a delightful array of talent, from Altan to the Republic of Strings, from these shores to fantastic fiddlers from far away to entertain us.

Bantry looms large with its festivals, first The Chamber Music festival playing out from June 30 ‘til July 8, encompassing two weekends and the week in between, internationally regarded as one of the best in its class.  It has a full programme including an international exhibition of contemporary violin and bow-making, morning talks with musicians every morning, masterclasses during the day and concerts throughout. The town follows this up with the Masters of Tradition festival in August (23 to 27), with the very best of traditional music in its purest form.

Clonakilty jumps in around September 20 for the weekend with the International Guitar Festival, apart from the Willie Clancy Festival in Milltown Malbay, surely as random a festival as ever there has been, and then it all winds down for us at Kinsale’s fringe Jazz, usually whipping up a storm for the October bank holiday, sayonara!

Around the rest of the land; Belvedere House hosts Life Festival from May 26 to 28 in Co. Westmeath for ‘Rhythm & Roots’. The following week, the long weekend gives you a chance to embrace your inner nomad in a camper van at Vantastival, co. Louth, featuring the best of Irish bands. The following weekend has Westport hosting the wonderfully low-key, all around town, Bluegrass Festival. There is also one to keep an eye on over the same weekend in Portarlington, co. Laois calling itself ‘BARE In The Woods’ with a huge line-up headed by House of Pain. Two weeks later is the now iconic Body & Soul at Ballinlough Castle, co. Westmeath, as close to the solstice as they can get from the June 23 to 25 this year. Also Sea Sessions in Bundoran, co Donegal, same weekend.

Castlepalooza in Tullamore and Indiependence in Mitchelstown share the August holiday weekend, August 4 – 6 of, both with impressive line-ups of a fine mixture of vintage, cutting edge, home grown and international fare.

Of course there is much more on offer at all these events than just performers on stage to get you to shake your stuff, there is art, talks, comedy, fairs and food for you to indulge and expand your senses, so go out lads and enjoy yerselves!

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