21 January 2020

21st Shannonside Winter Music Festival: a report

Seth Mulder & Midnight Run on stage at Sixmilebridge GAA Hall

Thanks to Des Butler for this report and photos:

Well, the Shannonside Winter Music Festival has come of age with its 21st Festival having taken place last weekend, and what a great weekend for music lovers of practically all genres it was.

To mention just a few of the bands performing - as it would be impossible to get to every performance, given the eighty events that were taking place - we had DD & the Delta Boys (above) providing us with some covers of the blues masters (i.e. Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, et al.), all performed with great dynamism and rhythm. Cajun fans were catered for with unadulterated dance music of Louisiana, Cajun and Zydeco, enriched with a healthy dose of blues and Swamp. We also had the great harmonies of the rousing sea shanties that Kimber’s Men perform with great gusto.

The Cajun Roosters in the Folk Park's Tea Room

For me and all bluegrass fans that attended the Festival the highlight had to be the performances of the Sons Of Navarone and Seth Mulder & Midnight Run. What performances these two bands gave, culminating in their finale at the Sunday afternoon concert in the GAA Club in Sixmilebridge with both bands playing out of their skins. Sons Of Navarone (below) are a polished and tight, skilful band with wonderful voices and a great repertoire, interspersed with some excellent witticisms and some whimsical antics.

The stars of the whole festival, for me, were Seth Mulder & Midnight Run - a high-octane, high-energy powerhouse of traditional bluegrass music, incorporating all aspects of what a great bluegrass band should be, and doing great covers of some of the old masters, e.g. Flatt & Scruggs, Osborne Brothers, Stanley Brothers, and many more. As the banjo player in the band had just turned 25 on the Sunday itself, a new phenomenon occurred in the shape of a bluegrass birthday bash on stage with cake, including candle, being presented on stage by the Maestro himself, John Nyhan (see below).

The entire weekend was sprinkled with some great jamming sessions throughout, with some of our best home-grown talent taking part i.e. Pat Kelleher, Frankie Lane, Richard Hawkins, Niall O'Rahilly, and Jim from Cork, John Nyhan, and many, many more talented musicians who sat in.

As Brendan Walsh has retired from his organisational role in the Festival, he has handed it over to the new man Michael Minihan in good order. Judging by this festival, the new man and committee are also doing a great job and I am sure we can look forward to many more years of great festival weekends at this venue.

Last but by no means least, bluegrass fans have the Maestro himself, John Nyhan, to thank for again bringing some of the best bluegrass bands out there to this country for our enjoyment. He hasn’t broken his own record yet of never bringing a mediocre band here.

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At 3:33 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you Des for your report. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. Roll on next year.


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