22 April 2013

7th Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, 14-16 June 2013

Thanks to festival organiser Uri Kohen for the official press release on the 7th Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival (14-16 June 2013), together with this link to a short film about the festival:

Over the weekend of June 14-16, national and international folk and bluegrass acts will be playing loads of free gigs in venues throughout Westport, Co. Mayo. The bustling, beautiful 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, the festival – now in its seventh year – will feature over 14 acts from different parts of the world, performing in nine different venues around the town.

As the event is all about the music and fun, most of the gigs are FREE – only two are pay-in affairs: the main Saturday-night show (June 15), which will feature The Whileaways (Galway), Kidnap Alice (London, UK), and the Bluegrass Boogiemen (Utrecht, NL) [photo above], and the all-new Sunday-night show featuring John Spillane.

So who’s playing, and where?

Things start kicking early on Friday night with Woodbine (Athy), who will play an early-bird session in Blousers pub 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 (Westport, formerly the MacEvillys) will play in the Clew Bay Hotel for the festival’s official opening; Tumbling Bones (Portland, Maine, USA) will play in the Atlantic Coast Hotel; McGing’s pub will host Jukebox Gypsy (UK/Ireland); Eilidh Patterson (Derry) will play in Cobblers Bar; while The Jester will take Tin Box Company (Dublin).

Saturday’s entertainment begins with a lunchtime gig at the Clew Bay Hotel with the legendary Roni Stoneman (Nashville, USA) [photo right] with support from Tumbling Bones. For those who love to learn, acclaimed fiddle, banjo, and mandolin player Tim Rogers (Westport) 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 Ass 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. This year’s session will be led by Woodbine. Also at 3.30 p.m., fans will have another chance to catch Eilidh Patterson, this time in the Pantry and Corkscrew restaurant, which will put together a special menu to fill the belly and fuel the soul. A great afternoon of folk, country, and bluegrass music, flowing wine and fabulous food.

The Saturday evening early-bird 6.00 p.m. gig will see an old-time session with Tim Rogers & the Clew Bay Critters in Cobblers Bar.

That night it’s the big gig. The mojo show. THE WESTPORT FOLK AND BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL MAIN EVENT. For four hours – maybe more – the walls of the Wyatt Hotel will reverberate with the sumptuously spirited sounds of The Whileaways (Galway, Ireland), Kidnap Alice (London, UK) [photo above], and The Bluegrass Boogiemen (Utrecht, NL). Doors open at 8.30 p.m., admission is €15.

Sunday’s proceedings start early, at 12.30 p.m., when music lovers looking for a lunchtime fix can head to the Clew Bay Hotel for a special performance by festival favourites The Molly Hicks from Galway.

That afternoon, Tim Rogers and friends gather at 2.30 p.m. in Blousers 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.

But this year, it doesn’t end there. In a new addition to the festival line-up, there’ll be a Sunday night gig, with the inimitable Corkman John Spillane playing the inaugural concert. The gig takes place in Matt Molloy’s Yard Bar at 9.00 p.m. – and a special guest, to be announced closer to the date, will also play on the night. Admission is €10.

For further information, contact Uri Kohen ('phone 087 757 0958 or e-mail), go to Facebook, or visit the Festival website.

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