14 February 2013

22nd Annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival, Omagh: Fri. 30 Aug.-Sun. 1 Sept. 2013

Thanks to Richard Hurst of the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, who announces:

I am absolutely delighted to inform readers of the Bluegrass Ireland Blog that we have just secured the Lonesome River Band [above] as our headline act for this year’s Festival. They have just celebrated their thirtieth anniversary in style, adding to their multitude of industry awards by recently winning the 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Award for Instrumental Recorded Event of the Year for their song 'Angeline the Baker' from their Chronology Vol. 1 album, and on top of that Sammy Shelor also received his fifth win as the 2012 IBMA Banjo Performer of the Year. I know our followers will be stunned by what these lads bring to the Festival, and we are once again over the moon to exclusively present such another multi-award winning act in our twenty-second year.

Also on the bill and direct from the US will be 2010 Festival favourites Cedar Hill who will make a welcome return with their unique brand of bluegrass music from the Ozark Mountains. It’s now time for the Sperrin Mountains to ring out to the high lonesome sound which Frank Ray and his merry band of pickers is sure to bring at the end of the summer. We will also present the multi-talented Lynda Dawson & Pattie Hopkins of Kickin' Grass fame who will impress our audiences with their heart-warming harmonies, high-quality musicianship, and originality.

From the Continent it’s finally time for Omagh to play host to one of the longest established bluegrass lineups in Europe. Six-piece Rawhide, based in Belgium, will bring a smile to everyone’s face with their fun-loving and high-quality stage performances. They are renowned for stretching the boundaries of bluegrass towards other styles and genres such as barbershop, classical, swing, and pop. Their live shows combine a variety of tasteful instrumental and vocal music with lots of humour thrown in for good measure.

From England we welcome the Jaywalkers, a youthful trio of highly talented musicians who create a unique sound based on their collective and individual musical backgrounds. Influenced by folk, bluegrass, country, and western swing music in the form of virtuosic instrumentals, three-part harmony, and occasional slap bass, these folks will prove why they won third place in the category of European Bluegrass Band of 2012 at EWOB and were BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Finalists in 2009.

From north of the border we welcome back Southern Tenant Folk Union who are at present on a tour of Ireland. This acclaimed and award-winning Edinburgh-based roots collective are fast establishing a reputation for exciting and engaging live shows. In their hands bluegrass can effortlessly be blended with other genres – folk, roots, and Americana – to make a potent, timeless sound.

We never forget the importance of supporting and showcasing the ever-increasing number of artists at home who continue to bring us the finest of old-time and bluegrass music throughout the entire year. We are delighted to welcome back old friends like Woodbine, the Broken String Band, and Northern Exposure, whilst for the first time we will host Tupelo, Well Enough Alone, and the Down and Out Bluegrass Band. They all promise to deliver memorable performances throughout the weekend.

One or two other acts will be added to the bill between now and the end of the summer, but for now I recommend you put the dates in your diary and join us for Festival #22 from 30 August to 1 September, when you can stroll through the museum for the afternoon sessions with six stages of great music to enjoy or book tickets to experience the high-octane atmosphere of an evening concert in the park. Find out more and check in regularly at www.nmni.com/uafp and of course on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog!

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