06 August 2012

Omagh Festival celebrates its 21st birthday with top lineup

Cup o’ Joe (see below), shown here with chief festival organiser Richard Hurst

Thanks to Andrea Kennedy for this press release on behalf of the 21st Annual Bluegrass Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone:

The Ulster American Folk Park is gearing up for strumming on the porches of its log cabins, dancing in the cobbled streets, and jamming outside the General Store when its annual Bluegrass Festival swings into action in just a few weeks.

Now in its twenty-first year, the famous event, which runs from Friday 31 August to Sunday 2 September, will see some of the biggest names in bluegrass and old-time music perform at the outdoor museum in Co. Tyrone. Throughout the weekend, multi-award-winning acts from the USA and Europe will perform in the festival marquee and at six stages set against the unique backdrop of the outdoor museum.

This year’s musical extravaganza will feature a number of US artists including the highly acclaimed American blind fiddle player, Michael Cleveland and his band Flamekeeper, Don Rigsby & Midnight Call, Mandolin Orange, and the Branchettes, as well as local talent including the Broken String Band, Northern Exposure, and the Knotty Pine String Band.

The ever popular open-mic sessions will also take place throughout the weekend, giving up-and-coming local bands the chance to perform in front of the crowds. Cup o’ Joe, made up of the multi-talented Agnew family from Mowhan, Co. Armagh, have already signed up for the sessions and they will be playing a wide range of traditional bluegrass and old-time Appalachian standards as well as some of their original material. Band members Benjamin (18) on bass, Reuben (16) on guitar and mandolin, and Tabitha (13) on banjo, violin, and guitar, have grown up with the festival over the past few years, and - along with many other open-mic performers - promise to entertain thousands of festival followers.

The Bluegrass Music Festival has grown to become the largest festival of its kind outside North America and has won accolades including 'Event of the Year' at the Northern Ireland Tourist Board awards. Last year over 9,000 visitors flocked to the Ulster American Folk Park over the festival weekend.

Richard Hurst, visitor services manager at the Ulster American Folk Park, said: 'We are thrilled to have such a great lineup of some of the biggest names in bluegrass to mark the twenty-first year of one of the most important annual leisure and tourism events in the west of the Province.

'Our Saturday night concert will be headlined by the fantastic Michael Cleveland who has won many awards including the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Fiddle Performer of the Year nine times. Visitors are in for a treat as Michael and his dynamic group are sure to put on a show, leaving them wanting more.

'The Sunday evening ‘Spirit of Bluegrass’ gospel concert is always a wonderful event and this year we’re welcoming back the Branchettes, one of America’s most celebrated traditional gospel ensembles, as well as the powerful tenor and distinctive mandolin player Don Rigsby with his band Midnight Call. With fourteen acts from throughout North America and Europe, we’re expecting an electric atmosphere to celebrate our twenty-first year!'

Other highlights include US group Spirit Family Reunion, Old Man Luedecke from Canada, Dutch group the Blue Grass Boogiemen, Covered Grass from Germany, English sister act the Toy Hearts, as well as Irish bands Clew Bay Critters, I Draw Slow, and Watery Hill Boys.

The festival has received funding from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s National Tourism Events Fund. Eddie Rowan, NITB events manager, added: 'The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is delighted to support the 21st Annual Bluegrass Musical Festival and welcomes its contribution to the amazing portfolio of events taking place in this momentous year of 2012. It certainly will be a musical highlight of this year’s packed programme of activity, planned to make Northern Ireland shine both close to home and overseas. The festival’s fantastic music, song and dance performances, all against the unique back drop of the Ulster American Folk Park, will provide both visitors and locals alike with a truly memorable experience.'

More information on events and pricing are here, where tickets can also be booked online or on the telephone booking line on 028 8224 3292. You can also follow the Ulster American Folk Park on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest festival announcements and behind-the-scenes preparations.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home