Published in About the Festival
THREE FULL DAYS OF PICKIN’, PLUCKIN’, BOWIN’, BLOWIN’, STRUMMIN’, SLAPPIN’, SLIDIN’ & OLD-STYLE HARMONISIN’ IN IRELAND’S ACOUSTIC-MUSIC CAPITAL, WESTPORT, COUNTY MAYO.
We’d like to invite you to come to what we think is the best boutique festival in the West of Ireland, theWestport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, in association with Fáilte Ireland and Destination Westport.
In its tenth year, the Festival will feature acts, from America, the UK, Europe, and of course Ireland – north and south – plus the Clew Bay Folk Club.
Over three days there’ll be a load of gigs, more than one massive session, Masterclasses and Workshops and some local instrument makers will be showcasing their craft to boot.
The music will be varied, from traditional bluegrass, through old-timey, and just plain old ‘folk’. Almost everything is free and in local pubs, plus two restaurant as well as some showcase concertss in a local church and in the Westport Town Hall Theatre and Cultural Centre.
The Festival atmosphere is warm and open, where everyone – all generations, cultures and walks of life, locals and visitors – feel included and, most importantly, have fun. The audience consists of everyone from seasoned folk and bluegrass ‘buffs’ to casual music fans, plus people just out for the crack.
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival is a not-for-profit event run entirely by a voluntary committee.
The 10th Festival will, as before, be a high-quality, multiple-venue, open and inclusive event in Westport. The three-day Festival attracts local, national and international artists and audiences. The nature and ethos of the event is very important. We foster an accessible, warm, open atmosphere where everyone – all generations, cultures and walks of life, locals and visitors – feel included and have fun. The audience profile is comprised of everyone from seasoned folk and bluegrass ‘buffs’ to casual music fans.
2015 was our biggest and most successful festival to date. 67 musicians performed in a total of 23 official concerts, 3 workshops, 5 spontaneous sessions, in 11 different venues over the course of the week-end. The artists came from as far as the USA, England, Switzerland and Northern Ireland to join the many musicians from all over the country.
Over the years, many people joined a (and left) the committee, currently the festival is run by three people who donate their time and expertise on a voluntary basis.
Uri Kohen - Chairperson
Tim Rogers - Music director
Sara MacEvilly - musician
Matt Molloy - patron
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival began life as one man’s dream to create a unique festival in the town in which he lived. After running into a brick wall when trying to book singer/songwriter Jimmy McCarthy for a one-off gig in the town, Uri Kohen decided enough was enough. Westport needed to be seen as a live music destination, and he would make damn sure it would be seen that way. It might be a small place on the western edge of an island on the edge of Europe – but that didn’t stop Uri from thinking big.
And so it was that the weekend-long festival was born. The Lee Valley String Band from Cork were asked to headline the first festival, and since then the wheels have been spinning faster and faster. As Uri says, ‘there was no way back’. Artists from Ireland, Europe and America were soon lining up to take part in the festival, and bluegrass fans were pencilling in a weekend in June as the time to make their way to the west for three days of top-quality music in the beautiful town of Westport.