16 June 2017

Dunfanaghy BAND Festival next weekend - and something for banjo enthusiasts

A reminder that the 1st BAND (Bluegrass And Nashville Dunfanaghy) Festival begins a week from today and runs throughout the weekend (23-5 June 2017) in Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal.

The lineup has changed and expanded considerably since the first release about the festival. As recently announced on the BIB, Woodbine have been obliged to withdraw; and even more regrettably, the Down and Out Bluegrass Band have decided to retire after years as the most active, hard-core, go-anywhere band on the Irish scene.

On the plus side, bands added to the lineup include the Dirty Beggars from Scotland, who will appear later this year at Omagh; the Hillbilly Rednecks from Co. Donegal; Mules 'n' Men, announced on the festival website as 'the new name for the old New Breadwinners'; Geordie MacAdam and Friends; and the website says many more are to be announced.
Also taking part in BAND will be Alec Somerville with old-time songs and clawhammer banjo. Not resting on the laurels of contributing to Canadian military history, Alec continues to look out for interesting old banjos, and he reports his latest find:

... a fine fretless I had bought at an auction over there [UK], got it for 50 quid plus charges... it is by J. Clamp, Newcastle, who died in 1907. Very much like a J. Dallas I once owned, but some subtle differences. One thing is that the rim is WHITE OAK, which Deering have now discovered; and the skin sits on raw wood, no tone ring. There is no 'spun over' metal sheathing on the outside, either - it is covered with cross-banded rosewood, highly lacquered. Bone tailpiece was split, so I applied a spare and strung it, and whoopee...

The BIB has added links from the Vintage Banjo Maker website, which shows a Clamp banjo of visibly high quality. White oak, as noted earlier on the BIB, has Dwight Diller's highest approval as a wood for banjos.

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