Westport foodies make sweet music
Westport Food Festival is going where no other food festival has ever gone. It’s going musical.
On Thursday last, an eclectic bunch of foodies – including a craft butcher, cheese maker, bee-keepers, vegetable growers, fish mongers, chefs, restaurant owners, hotel managers, bar and waiting staff – gathered to record an adaptation of ‘Food Glorious Food!’ (entitled ‘Food, Festival Food!’) from the musical Oliver! at a pop-up recording studio in Hotel Westport.
The next morning and Saturday, the various ‘recording artists’ took to the streets of Westport in their distinctive work wear, with a film crew in tow, to shoot the video footage. They were joined by five members of Westport’s historic brass band, under Larry Hingerton, who stars as a continuous thread throughout the video. Also featuring in the video are six Westport children Claudia Lennon (11), Conor Clarke (11), Jamie Byrne (7 ½), Milo McManus (9), Sinéad Brogan (14), and, also in a starring role, Kitty Harburn (9).
According to Fáilte Ireland, there are now more than 40 food festivals around the country compared to 15 two years ago, many of which offer similar festival programmes. To create a point of difference and ‘win hearts and minds’, the Westport Food Festival Committee decided to launch its festival on the back of this unique video, which it hopes will go viral, allowing it to be seen by more and more people as it gets shared online through social media.
‘Food, Festival Food!’ will go live this week on the Westport Food Festival website and via Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and selective blogs. According to the festival committee, the music video is a first for a food festival and provides the committee with the means of promoting Westport Food Festival to an international as well as national audience. Fáilte Ireland are so impressed with the idea that they plan to help the viral video ‘go global’ as part of their push to boost tourism.
Food, Festival Food! stars several well-known Mayo personalities including craft butcher Seán Kelly; cheese maker Andrew Pelham-Burn; Redmond Cabot, local food producer and regular contributor to Mayo News Living; Kate O’Connor-Kennedy, who sells mussels in Westport Country Markets; chefs José Barosso, Eoin McDonnell, Stephen Fitzmaurice and Shteryo Yurokuv; baker Luis Peirera, Westport beekeeper Henry Horkin and many more.
Filming took place at some Westport’s best-loved locations including The Octagon, The Clock, Westport House, the Quayside and Croagh Patrick. Speaking at the video shoot, Eoin McDonnell, head chef, Wyatt Hotel said making the video was ‘daunting but great fun’. “We knew from the word go that we had hit on a great concept,” he said. “It was a true food-community initiative, with everyone working together to create something that will really make waves for Mayo’s food sector and for Westport itself as the location shots show Westport in a great light.”
• The ‘Food, Festival Food!’ video will be available to watch (and share) on www.westportfoodfestival.ie from this Sunday, August 12. Westport Food Festival takes place from September 21 to 23. The full festival programme will be launched this weekend.