ON THE LINE-UP Grammy-nominated Tennessee bluegrass act The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys.
Long-running festival kicks off this Friday
The Westport Festival has partnered Nashville Tennessee’s Station Inn TV and venues in Ireland to produce a collaborative online festival this year. The festival, which runs from June 11 to 13, will be streamed online via Station Inn TV, and will feature one of the best acts in the world of bluegrass, Grammy-nominated The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys.
Given the travel restrictions in place at the time of recording, the team at the The White Horse in Ballincollig, Cork, will host the recording of the Cork-based musicians, The Brendan Butler Trio and The Grits and Gravy String Band. The festival has also been working with partners in Northern Ireland to produce a special tribute to Mel Corry, one of the leading figures in the Irish bluegrass scene, who sadly passed away in the last year.
Speaking ahead of the weekend, festival founder, chairman and producer Uri Kohen said: “Although we had very much hoped to be welcoming all our artists and supporters to beautiful Westport in person, and although the idea of an online festival did not initially appeal to us, we are however now in a really exciting position with our festival.
“We believe that the virtual festival this year will in fact work to our advantage, allowing us to partner with other venues, both in Ireland and in the US, to engage with artists who may otherwise be unavailable to attend our festival, and to reach an international audience we would have struggled to reach otherwise … We can‘t wait to show off our beautiful town and the best of Irish talent on a worldwide stage.”
The festival will kick off this Friday, with Westport’s very own Old-Time band, The Clew Bay Critters. Fans will then be treated to a very special, all-female line-up. Lorraine Nash from Kerry, whose debut EP, ‘Wildflower’, was received with much critical acclaim, will be followed by Galway-based The Raines, a folk band consisting of musicians Yvonne Tiernan, Ruth Dillion and Juliana Erkkonen. The finale of the Friday night concert will see, for the first time on stage together as a trio, a feast of harmonies by Pauline Scanlon, Noriana Kennedy and Nicola Joyce.
Saturday night will feature four bluegrass acts from four different venues. Opening the show, live from The White Horse in Ballincollig will be the Grits & Gravy String Band. Then it’s back to Westport for the town’s The Rocky Top String Band, who have performed at every festival since its inception. The special tribute to Mel Corry will follow with Ten-Hens. Lastly, it will be over to the Station House Inn in Nashville to finish the night with The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys.
The Sunday night folk line-up will feature some of Ireland’s finest singer-songwriters – Ger O‘Donnell, David Hope, Darragh O’Dea and John Blek – which will no doubt be a lovely mellow wind-down to finish off the weekend.
All concerts will be broadcast live on Station Inn TV on the weekend of the festival, June 11-13. Admission to each concert is €/$10. Tickets and programme details are available via the festival’s website, www.westportfolkbluegrass.com, and Facebook page.