The 35th Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival will kick off on Thursday, August 2 and continue through to Sunday, August 5, with a comprehensive line-up of folk and traditional music stars from Ireland and beyond including Paul Brady, The Lost Brothers, The Alan Kelly Gang featuring Eddi Reader, Cara Dillon, Fidil, and Faduda.
This year’s event will go right back to its roots, celebrating the heady early days of the festival with Paul Brady headlining on the Sunday night. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Strabane, Co. Tyrone is one of Ireland’s most enduringly popular acts and continues to push out the boundaries, not only of his own talent, but of Irish contemporary music.
The weekend’s entertainment features a fantastic mixture of both new and emerging entertainers such as the multi-award winning voice of Cara Dillon who has recently finished recording in the legendary Abbey Road Studios with a 96 piece orchestra as part of the Disneyland Paris 20th anniversary celebrations. Fidil, who have been described by Siobhan Long in the Irish Times as “a masterclass in the marriage of tradition and musical exploration, and a milestone in traditional music” make a welcome return to this year’s festival, in what is bound to be another highlight performance.
Making a first appearance on the famous Ballyshannon stage is The Alan Kelly Gang featuring Scottish singer extraordinaire Eddi Reader. Fronted by Ireland’s piano accordion maestro, described by New York’s Irish Voice as “in league with the best piano accordionists in the world”, and with three of Ireland’s finest musicians in tow, all critically acclaimed masters of their own craft, The Alan Kelly Gang have been taking their audiences by storm, impressing both music lovers and critics alike. Their album “Small Towns and Famous Nights“ was n named as one of Folk World Magazine’s Top 10 Trad Albums of 2011.
Faduda is a band of traditional musicians from the north west of Ireland who are sure to thrill audiences with their powerful blend of traditional tunes from Ireland and Scotland, all beautifully arranged, as well as their own self-penned tunes. Coincidentally, the band was formed in 2008, when they supported Eddie Reader at the City of Song Festival in Derry.
Great free live street entertainment is another aspect of the Ballyshannon Folk & Traditional Music Festival that is at the core of the weekend – with a selection of live acts to choose from every day on the streets including The Aoife Scott Band, The Rockhill Ramblers, The New Free, Whiskey Tears and the Seamus Sweeney Ensemble. The street entertainment concludes on the Sunday afternoon with a free open air gig by The Lost Brothers who recently released their second studio album - “So Long, John Fante”. The Irish Examiner wrote “The Brothers have an ear for effortless poetry and stark powerful melodies underpinning to die for, harmony singing. A powerful musical punch” and awarded them 4 Stars.
There will be a full array of workshops to suit all musical and vocal tastes and the festival kicks off with a Barn Dance on the Thursday night. The pubs in the small north western coastal town will provide live impromptu music and singing sessions not to mention the ever popular story telling experience. To round up what is sure to be a busy festival weekend, the Talent Showcase competition will allow the best of “up and coming” musicians and vocalists to perform in front of a live audience and the winner of this competition will enjoy €500 in prize money, a support slot to Paul Brady on the Sunday night as well as dedicated recording time at a local studio.
For full programme details, pick up a brochure or visit www.ballyshannonfolkfestival.com.
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