Top line-up of bluegrass and folk acts for Westport festival

Gigs, workshops and classes to lift the streets for three days

TOP ACT: Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson from Australia will play at the festival.

TOP ACT: Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson from Australia will play at the festival.

Three full days of pickin’, pluckin’, bowin’, blowin’, strummin’, slappin’ and slidin’ are in store as the eighth Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival is set to take the town by storm from Friday to Sunday, June 13 to 15, in association with Fáilte Ireland.

The seaside town is getting ready for a huge influx of bluegrass and folk lovers from near and far for music from acclaimed international and Irish acts, lots of free gigs, workshops, classes, displays and activities, which will fill the bars the streets of the town for the entire weekend.

Organisers have continued to build on the growing success of this unique festival and have once again attracted a top line-up of some of the best bluegrass and folk acts around with groups from the UK, Europe, the US, Australia and all over Ireland, Westport bound next weekend.

This year’s line-up includes The Loose Moose String Band from Liverpool, UK; The Corn Potato String Band from America; Battenkill Ramblers from Germany; Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson from Australia; The Down and Out Bluegrass Band from Northern Ireland; Jock Tyldesley and Vera van Heeringen from Wales; and southern Irish acts Miriam Donohue, The Sullivan Brothers, The Watery Hill Boys, The Rocky Top String Band and Tim Rogers and Friends.

In a festival first, luthiers  - or instrument makers - will also be at the festival, displaying their work and on hand to answer any questions.

Award-winning mandolin and guitar maker Brian Lofthouse, award-winning bowmaker Gary Leahy, and long-established violin maker Graham Wright will be joined by emerging talent Derek McLoughlin, who makes a variety of fretted stringed instruments. They will display their craft in The Wyatt Hotel.

Another highlight of the festival will see champion fiddler Aaron Jonah Lewis, who plays with The Corn Potato String Band, giving a fiddle masterclass to a few lucky fiddlers.

He has won acclaim in ‘Old Time’ and ‘Bluegrass’ styles at Clifftop and Galax respectively, two of the biggest music competitions in the USA. He has also taught workshops at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and at the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

All of the artists and groups in the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival have been handpicked by the organisers to reflect different movements in the bluegrass and folk genres.

For those who love to learn, there will be lots of workshops and informal sessions where members of the public are welcome to join in and play along with the best of them, all in the spirit of knowledge sharing, top-class pickin’ and jammin’ and exciting, exclusive entertainment.

As always there will be plenty of free gigs, more sessions than you can shake a banjo at, and a high-calorie feast of bluegrass and folk.

For the full Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival line-up, including gigs, sessions and workshops, and information on all the acts, visit www.westportfolkandbluegrass.com

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