22 November 2012

'The day the music died'

Thanks to Des and Pat Butler of Co. Meath for this message, and for photos from their collection:

It's with great sadness that we learn of the demise of the Athy Bluegrass Festival; it will be a great loss to bluegrass music in Ireland.

It may not have been the biggest bluegrass festival in the country but it was certainly the best, made so by Tony's organisation and dedication with ample help from Joan and the girls.

It was always greatly looked forward to by us, being one of the highlights of our year. We have some great memories of the festival down through the years, all photographed and stored on computer in chronological order.

We made many friends over the years at the festival. We got to hear and see some of the great bands and performers of bluegrass from Ireland and around the world at Athy. It certainly is the end of an era.

No doubt we will meet somewhere on the Bluegrass Trail around the country.

The two photos above were both taken at the 2005 Athy festival, held in the premises of Athy Rugby Club. The heading photo shows John Hunter (guitar) and Noreen Hunter (bass) backed by Liam Wright, Sean McKerr, and Richard Hawkins. The lower photo shows Tom Mindte of Patuxent Music on mandolin leading his band Potomac Crossing, with Dede Wyland (centre) singing lead. The photo below, from the 2010 festival in the Carlton Arms Hotel, shows Tony on stage with High Plains Tradition.

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