Westport 2012 announces lineup and schedule
Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys
[18 Mar. 2012]
Now in its sixth year, the Westport Folk and Blue Grass Festival is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best boutique music festivals in Ireland, boasting top-class local, national, and international acts, a host of free gigs and sessions, and a five-hour main event.
Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, 29 June-1 July 2012
More free gigs than you can shake a banjo at, a major headline event, and a whole lotta foot stompin’ - Who needs tents in soggy fields when you have Irish pubs?
Over the last weekend in June, national and international folk and bluegrass acts will be playing loads of free gigs in venues throughout Westport, Co Mayo. The bustling seaside town will be hopping to the sound of banjos and fiddles, hooting to Appalachian harmonies, and swaying to soulful folk songs, as the local bars and hotels give themselves over once again to the Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival. This year will feature over ten acts from different parts of the world, performing in eight different venues around the town.
As the event is all about the music and fun, all the gigs are FREE, except for the main Saturday-night show (30 June), which will feature the Higglers, the Molly Hicks, and headliners the Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys.
So who’s playing, and where?
Things start kicking early on Friday night with Seán McKerr and Friends, who will play an Early Bird session in Blousers pub’s at 6.00 p.m. No less than five different gigs will take place around the town at 9.30 p.m. – the Rocky Top String Band (formerly the MacEvillys) will play in the Clew Bay Hotel; Woodbine will play in the Atlantic Coast Hotel; McGing’s pub will host Mikey & the Scallywags; James O’Connor and Audrey Trainor will play in Cobblers Bar; while the Jester will take Hickory Wind.
Saturday’s entertainment begins with a lunchtime gig at the Clew Bay Hotel by Doghouse. For those who love to learn, fiddle, banjo, and mandolin player Tim Rogers will host a workshop in the festival’s main artery, the Wyatt Hotel, at 2.00 p.m. Later that afternoon, at 3.00 p.m., the Big Bluegrass Session – an established festival highlight – will take place. This involves most of the festival acts converging in McGing’s pub on High Street for a big ol' session – and everyone is welcome to join in. Also at 4.00 p.m., fans will have another chance to catch James O’Connor and Audrey Trainor, this time in the Pantry and Corkscrew restaurant, which will put together a special menu to fill your belly and fuel your soul. A great afternoon of folk music, flowing wine, and fabulous food.
The Saturday evening Early Bird 6.00 p.m. gig will see Westport favourites Tim Rogers and the Clew Bay Critters play in Cobblers Bar.
That night it’s the big gig. The mojo show. THE WESTPORT FOLK AND BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL MAIN EVENT. For five hours (yes, FIVE hours) the walls of the Wyatt Hotel will reverberate with the sumptuously spirited sounds of the Higglers, the Molly Hicks, and the Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys. The show starts at 9.00 p.m. (doors open at 8.30 p.m.).
Sunday’s proceedings start early, at 12.30 p.m. Music lovers looking for a lunchtime fix can head to the Clew Bay Hotel for a special performance by Woodbine. The last of the festival’s gigs sees Tim Rogers and Friends gather at 4.00 p.m. in Geraghty’s Bar for an out-with-a-bang session. In what is now becoming a veritable festival of conviviality in its own right, a host of musicians come together to wind down, drink up, and sing out three days of top-class folk and kick-ass bluegrass. A fitting end to a memorable weekend.
For further information, contact Uri Kohen on 087 757 0958 or by e-mail, or visit the Festival website or Facebook.
Main event €15, all other gigs FREE
The Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival began life as one man’s dream to create a unique festival in the town in which he lived. After running into a brick wall when trying to book singer/songwriter Jimmy McCarthy for a one-off gig in the town, Uri Kohen decided enough was enough. Westport needed to be seen as a live music destination, and he would make damn sure it would be seen that way. It might be a small place on the western edge of an island on the edge of Europe – but that didn’t stop Uri from thinking big.
And so it was that the weekend-long festival was born. The Lee Valley String Band from Cork were asked to headline the first festival, and since then the wheels have been spinning faster and faster. As Uri says, 'there was no way back.' Artists from Ireland, Europe, and America were soon lining up to take part in the festival, and bluegrass fans were pencilling in the last weekend of June as the time to make their way to the west for three days of top-quality music in the beautiful town of Westport.
LINE-UP BREAKDOWN: Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival 2012
FRIDAY 29 JUNE
Sean McKerr & Friends, Blousers, 6.00 p.m.
The Rocky Top String Band, Clew Bay Hotel, 9.30 p.m.
Woodbine, Atlantic Coast Hotel, 9.30 p.m.
Mikey & The Scallywags, McGing’s, 9.30 p.m.
James O’Connor & Audrey Trainor, Cobblers Bar, 9.30 p.m.
Hickory Wind, The Jester, 9.30 p.m.
SATURDAY 30 JUNE
Doghouse, Clew Bay Hotel, 1.00 p.m.
Bluegrass Workshop, Wyatt Hotel, 2.00 p.m.
The Big Bluegrass Session, McGing’s, 3.00 p.m.
James O’Connor & Audrey Trainor, Pantry & Corkscrew, 4.00 p.m.
Tim Rogers & the Clew Bay Critters, Cobblers Bar, 6.00 p.m.
MAIN EVENT – THE WYATT – 8.30 P.M.
The Molly Hicks
Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys
SUNDAY 1 JULY
Woodbine, Clew Bay Hotel, 12.30 p.m.
Tim Rogers & Friends, Blousers, 4.00 p.m.