28 November 2015

Athy - a chapter closes

Tony O'Brien, organiser since 1997 of the Athy Bluegrass Festival, sends this message:

November is the month we bluegrassers look back at the year that was and start to plan for next year. This year we celebrated the 25th bluegrass festival in Athy; and with a special show on the Saturday to remember absent friends, I reflected on the past twenty-five years of the festival.

I have come to the decision to wind up the festival and park the memories of twenty-five great years. I had made and lost some great friends during that time, and it was the death of one such friend, Bill Andrews, that finally made my mind up to close the chapter on the Athy Bluegrass Festival.

Running a festival takes a lot of time and energy, not to mention the financing of the event. Over the past few years sponsorship and grants were more difficult to obtain, and our audience was not increasing enough to cover the financing of headline bands from the US or Europe.

To fill the gap, Woodbine will host two concerts on the same weekend in July with support band on each night. This will take place on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th July 2016 with a pickin’ session on Saturday afternoon, venues to be confirmed.

I wish to thank all our loyal fans who supported us over the years, and look forward to you still supporting the Woodbine shows and making many more new and happy memories over the coming years.

Looking forward to 2016,


The 2015 festival was a marvellous end to this chapter of the story. Thank you, Tony.

Update: Messages from members of the bluegrass community and some fine photos of Bill Andrews can be seen on the Athy Festival Facebook.

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