25 October 2017

Bunratty Bluegrass Festival 2017: report and photos

Thanks to Des Butler for this report and photos:

Well for those who braved the rigours and risks and the portents of disaster that we were told were associated with 'Storm Brian' and travelled to the South West to the Bunratty Bluegrass Festival - last weekend they were duly rewarded with a great weekend of bluegrass and Americana.

The Friday night opening concert saw Roger Green (USA) delivering some early bluegrass classics, who was then joined by Bill Forster on banjo in what made a great combo [above].

This performance was followed by the Garret Family Trio comprising of the father and son members of the Grove Band from Leeds and Bill Forster - what a performance of straight, no-nonsense bluegrass.

The Propane Brothers, which include the two male members of Cup 0' Joe, despite their return from an exhaustive tour in the US and UK, delivered a superb performance to conclude the event.

Saturday night concert was highlighted by the Slocan Ramblers from Canada, a young band who play and deliver a performance way beyond their years.

Sunday evening concert was opened by Brennnen Leigh & Noel McKay from Texas. The warm, dulcet tones this duo can manufacture need to be heard to be believed. From their twin guitar instrumentals to their soft vocal tones and tight harmonies, which included some of their own fine compositions, would melt the heart. All thanks to Uri Kohen of Westport Festival fame for providing us with this duo's superb performance.

The evening concert finale was provided by the Munich String Band, a five-man outfit of American and Bavarian musicians who delivered some fine bluegrass interspersed with a tribute to Tom Petty and some powerful renditions of classics by Levon Helm & The Band.

Between concerts, organised sessions were taking place before and after these events in all the local hostelries and throughout the Bunratty Folk Park with some excellent and very enjoyable sessions both organised and impromptu. The music was continuous throughout the entire weekend with some fine performances given by John Nyhan & friends, the Kellehers, et al. The only impact the bad weather reports had was to deter a lot of people from travelling, given the low attendance at some performances. But the weather had no impact on the festival other than a strong wind on Saturday and some intermittent showers, the rain only lasting for short periods, and all venues are within a short walking distance.

Of all the great performances over the weekend my personal most enjoyable performances was from the Garret Family Band, with a lot of hard-driving, in-your-face bluegrass, performed with close harmonies and great musicianship with the ex-Grove Band father and son on guitar and mandolin, interspersed with dobro and the great bluegrass banjo playing of Bill Forster.

All thanks to Brendan Walsh and his team, and John Nyhan (who gave some excellent performances himself throughout the festival), for making this festival a most enjoyable and pleasurable event.

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At 8:16 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Des, for the kind words


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