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Ballinrobe Festival caught in The Riptide

Going Out

STRONG, CURRENT The Riptide Movement, from left: John Dalton (lead guitar), Gar Byrne (drums), Mal Tuohy (lead vocals, guitar) and Gerry McGarry (bass/harmonica).

The Riptide Movement’s Malachy Tuohy on the upcoming Ballinrobe gig, the band’s journey to fame and their environmentalism

Ger Flanagan

HERE’S a few things you might now know about The Riptide Movement: their lead singer, Malachy Tuohy, has parents who hail from Ballaghaderreen; bass player Gerry McGarry owns a house in Louisburgh, where his family have strong connections; and the band are working passionately to try and save our oceans.
That’s not to mention the fact they’ve supported the likes of The Rolling Stones, played Glastonbury twice and recorded a Gold selling album.
Next Saturday night they’ll be in the Big Red Barn headlining the Ballinrobe Festival. And despite enjoying all the thrills and spills from their globe-trotting antics, the four-piece Irish rock band still get excited about these communal gigs.
“I was just on the Ballinrobe Festival Facebook page and saw them building the Bid Red Barn, which looks really cool,” lead singer Malachy Tuohy told The Mayo News. “We find with these type of festivals that everyone comes out, that it’s a really community-based thing, and we really enjoy them.
“A lot of people will know us and then quite a lot of people won’t know us, so you have to win over a new audience, and that’s really exciting. We’re together as a band for 13 years now, and we’ve played every type of gig all across Ireland.
“We’ve a wide demographic of people at our gigs too – young and old – who are all into rock music. We’ve four albums and around 60 songs out there, so we’ve something for everybody.”
It’s not the first time the Dublin born band will be out west, having played in Castlebar’s TF Royal Theatre and Garbo’s, as well as the Westport Music Festival, in the past. Tuohy revealed there’s plenty of Mayo connections in the band and spoke of a soft spot for the county too.
“We’ve always had a good crowd when we played in Mayo,” he said. “I was in Westport recently for holidays, and it was lovely. We rented out the bikes and cycled the Greenway and did all that. You could spend a month in Mayo alone. I knew it was a nice place, but Jesus, when the sun shines it’s beautiful.
“My parents come from Ballaghaderreen, so half the aunties and uncles support Mayo and the others Roscommon!”
Big break
THIS year marks the ten-year anniversary of The Riptide Movement’s debut album, ‘What About The Tip Jars’. Reflecting on the last decade, Tuohy described the band’s journey as a whirlwind.
‘What About The Tip Jars’ was produced by renowned producer Tony Colton, who is highly regarded for his work with Rory Gallagher. They met Colton boarding a flight in Heathrow Airport and after exchanging contact details and their demo, a phone call arrived a month later, with Colton flying to Ireland and coming onboard.
Distribution of the album became their next obstacle due to the band still being unknown on the circuit. Label after label weren’t interested, meaning radio stations and record shops followed suit.
With 10,000 albums to shift, the band took inspiration by buskers on Grafton Street and over the next year performed on the busy street and sold every one of the first order and more on the pavement.
“We had albums lying everywhere in our houses,” Tuohy laughed. “And then we saw a band busking and selling their albums on Grafton Street and we decided to do that.
“We sold the 10,000 and more in the space of a year, and that really helped us. We learned how to perform live, learned which songs really connected with the audience and ended up getting gigs all around the world from people who bought our album on Grafton Street.”

Saving the oceans
MORE recently the band has been on an inspiring mission to save the planet’s oceans from plastic pollution. After being inspired from watching the hit Netflix documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’, the band wrote two songs – ‘What Will The Kids Say’ and ‘Plastic Oceans’ – which Tuohy labelled ‘environmental commentary’ designed to raise awareness on the global problem of pollution.
They’ve teamed up with the Clean Coasts programme to gain an insight into the problem here in Ireland, and later made their own three-part web series to further highlight the problem.
“Music has brought us on such a journey,” he said. “We didn’t plan on getting into environmental conservation, but one thing lead to another and now it’s an important part of the band.
“It started with watching a documentary, and writing songs based on that, and [we] ended up doing the web series and doing work with Greenpeace along the River Rhine in Germany, so it was very ironic how everything has happened, because of our main interest in music.”

First airing
WHEN The Mayo News spoke to Tuohy, he revealed the band were just out of the recording studio in Donegal, where they were busy recording for their new EP that is due out on September 27.
Their new single, ‘Something Special’, will be released to the public on August 9, and they’re planning on giving it a spin, along with other fresh music, next Saturday evening in Ballinrobe.

For tickets to The Riptide Movement at Ballinrobe Festival (€20 each), search ‘Riptide Movement’ on eventbrite.com. For more information on the fesitval, see www.facebook.com/ballinrobefestival.

The Mayo News is giving away a pair of tickets to The Riptide Movement’s upcoming Ballinrobe Festival gig, which takes place at 8pm on Saturday, July 27, at the Big Red Barn  on Abbey Street.
To be in with a chance to win, find the competition on The Mayo News’s Facebook page, tag the person you’d bring with you in the comments section and like the page.
Entries must be received by 2pm on Wednesday, July 24. The winner will be announced on and contacted via Facebook.