23 July 2022

Two great July weekends: Durrow and Ardara

Woodbine with John Denby and Long Way Home, in 'Bob's Hideout'

Thanks to Tony O'Brien for this report on the Mini Bluegrass Festival in Bob's Bar, Durrow, Co. Laois (1-2 July) and the Ardara Bluegrass Festival in Co. Donegal (15-17 July):

The Mini Bluegrass Festival in Bob's Bar, Durrow, was a resounding success with two sold-out concerts and some great pickin' sessions. The audience on both nights were amazing, giving the acts a fantastic reception. It looks as if this event could turn into a regular annual festival. Long Way Home and Geraldine & Kevin Gill gave two great performances, and Woodbine with John Denby on mandolin were in fine form on both nights.
Woodbine with John Denby
Geraldine and Kevin Gill
Woodbine at Ardara with Joe Meehan (extreme left)

Ardara Bluegrass Festival, back after two years of lockdown and featuring an all-Irish lineup, was the usual great weekend. The concert on Saturday night, with Colin & Janet Henry, Woodbine with Joe Meehan (mandolin) and Dessie Crerand (fiddle) and Mules & Men in the Nesbitt Arms, was a very emotional event with moving tributes to Mel Corry and P.J. Coleman, both very much part of the Ardara festival since its inception in 2008. Colin & Janet with a fabulous version of 'The sunny side of the mountain' and Woodbine with 'Queen Anne's lace' paid tribute to Mel, and Woodbine with 'Free as a breeze' as a tribute to P.J. Colin also commemorated the legendary Geordie McAdam. A great show to a really fine audience.

The Sunday night was a full house upstairs in the Beehive with hosts Woodbine and guest spots from Kevin & Geraldine Gill (who paid tribute to Siona Knepper), Paddy Cummins (mandolin), Sean McMonagle (vocals), Daniel & Susanne (from Sweden; mandolin and guitar), and Ken Brown (USA; guitar & vocals). A fitting wind-up to a great weekend of music from both the concerts and the usual Beehive jam sessions [below].
© Richard Hawkins

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