Emerging acts still the backbone of Guitar Festival

Posted on: 8th September, 2014

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

The Clonakilty International Guitar Festival returns this September 18-21 to celebrate its tenth edition with another foot-stompin’, fingerpicking, head-banging, eye-catching conglomeration of virtuosos, rogues and three-chord heroes, all descending on the seaside town for one glorious weekend.

The festival has grown in strength and reputation over the last decade, fusing an independently spirited, community-based festival of small parts, joining together to create an unpredictable whole.

Major international talents form an important part of the weekend, and this year is no different with British fingerstyle star Jon Gomm and American bluegrass band The Hackensaw Boys all making the pilgrimage. However, emerging home-grown acts are the backbone of CIGF; Dublin’s Girl Band, Cork shoegazers Elastic Sleep and local guitar ‘l’enfant terrible’ Sam Clague are just three of the exciting young bands ready to make a mark.

The relaxed atmosphere of the town and the intimate venues are hallmarks of the festival, and one of the reasons that it has been so popular with listeners and performers alike.

Past festivals have seen performances in the pubs, the library, and even the butcher shop, so there’s no telling where the next gig will spring up. This year will see the return of the hugely popular Jam Van, a vintage VW camper van specially converted to be a roving stage, complete with a three-piece band kicking out the tunes on street corners and carparks.

A strong thread of education and accessibility has run through the festival’s history, with workshops, demonstrations, school visits and exhibitions all recurring. This year will be no different, with workshops on songwriting from John Spillane, a crash course in playing the ukulele from the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra, and lessons on improving your guitar technique from US virtuoso Richard Gilewitz. Also making a welcome return is the Human Orchestra Project, a large-scale open orchestra where members of the public can be part of a musical composition, regardless of musical ability or even possession of an instrument!

Perhaps the biggest commitment that the festival has made to accessibility has been to make nearly all the event completely free of charge. Only a handful of the headline events carry a charge with an ‘unwaged’ price also available meaning that the listeners can gorge themselves on the very best of international and local talent, and not have to spend an extortionate amount on a ticket, or stand for hours in a muddy field…

Here is the lineup to date with more to be announced on 


• Jon Gomm (UK)

• The Lost Brothers (IRL)

• The Hackensaw Boys (US)

• Girl Band (IRL)

• Wille & the Bandits (UK)

• Jerry Harmon (US)

• Cat Called Dog (UK)

• Sam Clague (IRL)

• Band of Clouds (IRL)

• Richard Gilewitz (US)

• Steve Cooney (IRL/AU)

• Idiot Songs (IRL)

• Elastic Sleep (IRL)

• Lucky Oceans (AU)

• White Lightning (UK)

• R.M. Hubbert (SCOT)

• Band of Clouds (IRL)

• Little Mammoths (UK)

• The Church (IRL/UK)


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