Westport gets ready for a weekend of folk and bluegrass

It’s that time of the year again when the pubs, hotels, restaurants, churches and streets of Westport come alive with the sound of old-time and bluegrass music

This weekend, Westport hosts the 12th Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, in association with Fáilte Ireland and Destination Westport.

This special boutique festival, which recently featured in the top small festival guide in The Irish Independent, is organised by a small voluntary committee of music lovers, who take great care in bringing together the finest of musicians to play traditional and contemporary bluegrass, old time and folk music.

The festival spans three days and features dozens of gigs, jam sessions, master-classes and workshops and a luthiers’ showcase, featuring local instrument makers showcasing their craft. There is also a special children’s performance on the Saturday, making it a festival for all ages!

Festival goers can also enjoy a variety of artists as they wander around the town, where most of the performances are free in local pubs and restaurants. In addition, every day features an opportunity to attend a special concert event.

On Friday night,the main gathering takes place at the Holy Trinity Church for an evening of artists who specialize in old-time music, featuring string bands and combos playing old American tunes and songs as well as contemporary sounds. The trio of Ben Paley, Tab Hunter and Dan Edwards, as well as a six-piece band,The Buffalo Gals, headline this event.

On Saturday night, the Westport Town Hall Theatre is the venue for a grand concert of the finest traditional and contemporary bluegrass artists, featuring an all-international line-up that includes Hot Rock Pilgrims (UK ), The Gold Heart Sisters (USA )and G-runs n’ Roses (Czech Republic ).

Festival patron, Matt Molloy's famous yard bar plays host on Sunday evening in the Yard Bar where The Clew Bay Folk Club will host a special evening of folk music headlined by Irish folk singer, Daoiri Farrell, winner of two BBC Folk Radio Awards in 2017.

A highlight of previous years will also feature once more as the The Red Room Presents ‘The Mystery Gig’ where acts will take to the stage at Matt Molloy’s Yard Bar.

Tim Rogers and Friends also return for an old time session - The Gospel Hour which has attracted crowds of up to 300 in previous years to hear an hour of gospel music on a Sunday morning.

Following on the success of last year’s kids’ show this year's, festival will host another family show featuring Bernie Pháid from the cultural wellsprings of the West Kerry Gaeltacht and Galway native, Dave Clancy.

A new event added to this years line up is the square dance at Westport Town Hall on Sunday, June 10 - sure to appeal to appeal to the bluegrass and dance lovers.

The Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival extends a huge welcome to all in Mayo to join them for a weekend of great music, song, dance and fun. Visit www.westportfolkbluegrass.com to book your tickets now.

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