LAUNCH Pictured outside McGing’s pub, Westport, at the launch of the sixth Westport Folk and Bluegrass festival are, from left: Uri Kohen, festival organiser; Cllr Christy Hyland, Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council; and long-time festival supporter Cllr Peter Flynn. ?Pic: Courtesy of Jim Corrigan.
Westport’s sixth bluegrass festival is launched
The sixth Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival was officially launched by Cllr Christy Hyland, Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council, on Friday night last, May 25.
This year’s festival, which takes place from June 29 to July 1, will feature over ten acts from different parts of the world, performing in eight different venues around the town. The festival has grown year on year, and it is now the fourth-biggest bluegrass festival in Ireland, itself the top-sixth country for bluegrass events, according to organiser, Uri Kohen.
Speaking to the crowd gathered on Friday night, Mr Kohen thanked all the venues – which include The Wyatt Hotel, Blousers Bar, Clew Bay Hotel, Atlantic Coast Hotel, McGing’s Bar, Cobblers Bar, The Jester and the Pantry & Corkscrew. He also thanked all the businesses in the town that support the festival, including Mangos Restaurant, McDermott Travel, Maxol-Ashlawn Filling Station, Ring for Coffee and the Alex Mealia at Pro-Shop at Westport Golf Club.
Kohen also expressed his gratitude to Mayo County Council and Westport Town Council, singling out Cllr Peter Flynn in particular, highlighting the councillor’s long-time support for the festival.
Officially launching the event, Cllr Christy Hyland wished the festival every success, and said that Westport needed people like Uri Kohen in the town. “In Westport, we’re bucking the recession and the national ‘negative’ trend. There are 800 people employed in the hotel and tourism sector in the town, and we need people like Uri to put on events that keep attracting the visitors,” Cllr Hyland said, adding that “by working together – the residents, the hotels, groups like Destination Westport – we keep it positive.”
He concluded by pledging to continue to support the festival into the future, finishing his speech with a rousing “Keep her lit – onwards and upwards!”
The full house later enjoyed a show by Westport bluegrass band, the Rocky Top String Band (formerly the MacEvillys).
For more information on Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, visit facebook.com/westportfolkandbluegrass or westportfolkandbluegrass.com. More details in The Mayo News in coming weeks.
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