17 December 2017

Omagh in OTN

Thanks to William Duddy for this photo of the cover of the latest issue of Old Time News, the magazine of FOAOTMAD, the UK's association for old-time music. It's a bumper issue, and not just for the CD review section mentioned: the cover feature is on the late Tom Paley (honorary president of FOAOTMAD), shown on the cover with his son Ben.

Other features include a 'countdown' to the coming Gainsborough Festival (Feb. 2018), a piece on FOAOTMAD's Nov. 2017 workshops - and a comprehensive, eloquent two-page article by William himself, 'For praise of the (Ulster American) Folk Park!' on September's Bluegrass Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, Co. Tyrone. As William amply demonstrates, if you wanted to design an ideal venue for a bluegrass/ old-time festival - one that would also 'celebrate the roots, migration, and development of Appalachian and bluegrass music', and has done so already for a quarter-century - the Folk Park meets every requirement.

This is all the more significant as, from the report a week ago on Bluegrass Today, the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, TN, has announced that it will no longer be able to operate the magnificent Tennessee Fall Homecoming festival, as it has done since 1980. The Homecoming has grown to the point where the Museum can no longer fulfil its primary functions and maintain the festival at the same time.

This is sad news in itself, but those who loved the Homecoming may take comfort to know that there is still one place where bluegrass, old-time, and traditional country music can be heard every year among log cabins and other historic buildings, set in beautiful country - and it's at Omagh, Co. Tyrone.

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