25 August 2022

Ireland at La Roche

The Skillet Lickers from Drogheda (l-r: Mick Dunne, Jim MacArdle, Dick McGarry) playing in the centre of La Roche as part of the 'Fringe' of the 2009 festival (photo: Carol Hawkins)

The celebrated festival now known as Bluegrass in La Roche, held annually at La Roche-sur-Foron on the edge of the French Alps, is the largest bluegrass event in Europe, supported entirely by the municipal authorities, with free admission to all concerts.

One feature of its website is a list of all bands who have played on stage there, organised by country and in alphabetical order. From this list (which at present extends up to 2019), it can be seen that Ireland has made a respectable contribution: in chronological order, the bands appearing under the heading 'Ireland' are:

Watery Hill Boys (2012, 2013)
Rackhouse Pilfer (2013, 2014, 2015)
Old Hannah (2016)
Pine Marten (2017 contest winner, 2018)
I Draw Slow (2018)
Hot Rock Pilgrims (2019)
Mules & Men (2019)

To this list can now be added Long Way Home (2022). It should be noted that the Hot Rock Pilgrims are listed as a UK band for 2018. No bands from Northern Ireland appear to have gone on stage at La Roche as yet. The list also does not include bands who have played at La Roche but not on stage - e.g. the Skillet Lickers (see photo above). A BIB report on the 2009 La Roche festival, with photos, can be seen here.

© Richard Hawkins

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