A tribute to the Athy festival
Vinny Baker of the VeeBee Recording Studio and Bending the Strings, who writes:
It was with tremendous joy that I read of the return of the Athy Bluegrass Festival. This festival has been one of the most important in the calendar of Irish bluegrass events, and its loss to the bluegrass musicians of Ireland would have been immeasurable. In these days of recession everywhere, festivals could not and did not escape, and the cold hard facts are that money is not freely available for entertainment such as festivals.
In my opinion, Athy festival stood above many other 'Bluegrass Festivals' in the country. I used the inverted commas because my opinion is that at a lot of the other festivals the bluegrass music was just a sound in the background... but not Athy. Tony O'Brien and his committee gave the music centre stage, and of course this made it all the more difficult to get sponsorship; but Tony stuck to his morals, and his sincere, deep love and respect for the music. Tony O'Brien should be applauded for that.
Finally, may I ask, through this post, every bluegrass musician and band in the country to weigh in heavily behind Tony O' Brien and his committee to help make sure that this festival continues. I don't have to spell it out how you can help - you know that yourselves. Well done, everyone involved in the organising of the Athy bluegrass festival; may it continue to grow.