WINNING PROGRAMME Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble played on the opening night of Westival 2019.
Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival also spotlighted
Westival, Westport’s annual festival of music and the arts, has won gold at the Irish Festival Awards, winning the coveted Best Small Festival 2019 title.
Every year, the Irish Festival Awards celebrates Ireland’s best festivals, commending and recognising the exceptional work that goes on behind the scenes in the ever-growing Irish festival industry.
In a massive endorsement of Westival, the Best Small Festival award was decided by public vote, with people asked to choose their favourite from a shortlist of worthy nominees.
A heady, colourful mix of music, art, theatre, dance, spoken word and more, Westival runs over six days, incorporating the October Bank Holiday Weekend. Growing year on year, the 2019 festival featured 63 events – eleven more than the previous year.
Commenting on winning the Best Small Festival accolade, festival director Conor Wilson said: “Westival is thrilled to be part of the rich artistic tapestry spread along the Wild Atlantic Way. Mayo is home to so much vibrant home-grown talent and a truly warm welcome to all visiting artists and audiences from near and far. Winning Best Small Festival in Ireland by public vote is a testament to this.”
Westival Chairperson Willie Walsh is also delighted with the award. “We’re thankful to a hard-working team of people behind the scenes, and we’re truly looking forward to welcoming back our festival visitors in 2020,” he said. “We hope they bring new friends with them to enjoy the Westival frolics around Westport town. I have sincere gratitude to all of the artists who always present such inspiring performances and work.”
Westival was also honoured to have made the shortlist for the Irish Festival Awards’ Best Festival Line Up category.
Another local festival, the much-loved Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, was also nominated in the prestigious Best Small Festival and Best Festival Line Up categories. Seems like Westport is spoilt for choice!
The lively, feel-good event, which was first rolled out in 2007, is now highly regarded as one of the leading festivals in the bluegrass genre, in Ireland and throughout Europe. The festival is organised by founder and producer Uri Kohen and his tireless voluntary committee, and it takes place every year in June – with this year’s Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival scheduled to take place from June 5 to 7.