Trad Fest is back!

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The 7th Annual Clifden Traditional Music Festival will take place from March 31 – April 3.

The festival will begin on Thursday with two special events in the Alcock and Brown Hotel at 8pm. A new CD will be launched by Fasta, a trio featuring well known Fiachra O’Regan and Sophie Lavoie, who are coming in especially from Canada for the event. It will be launched by John Carty, of At the Racket fame. John will also judge the tune composition competition, which will also take place on the night, with it having a special 1916 theme to coincide with this year’s commemoration.

Friday will see the launch of our first photo exhibition in Clifden Library at 1pm – featuring a myriad of photos from down through the years. Also on the Friday, the official opening and concert will take place in the Clifden Station House Theatre at 7pm, featuring a host of artists from all over Ireland as well as lots of local talent.

Saturday starts with music workshops in fiddle, button accordion and concertina and learning workshops from 10am until 12.30pm in Scoil Mhuire National School, with top class tutors including Graham Guerin (accordion), James Duggan (fiddle) and Maura Walsh (concertina). A singing workshop will also take place with All Ireland Oireachtas Champion Nollaig Ni Laoire.

A big highlight of the festival this year will again be the outdoor gig on the street on Saturday night, which this year features fantastic singers The Brennan Sisters as the headline act, as well as music from David Doocey (fiddle), Dara Healy (accordion), and Shane McGowan (guitar).

A few new events have been added onto the Trad Fest again this year. On the Saturday of the festival, don’t miss the first Clifden Trad Fest 5K, which will leave from the town centre at 2.30pm. A new initiative for 2016, the route will be the Sky Road 5K and all finishers will get a medal. The €10 entry fee, payable on the day, will include a contribution to the Galway Hospice in memory of our deceased member Tina Keane.

Saturday will also feature street entertainment, a traditional street market and music and song on the Gig Rig from 3pm with Caitriona Canavan to welcome back all the walkers/runners.

A busking competition will also take place on the Saturday of the Trad Fest from 1.30pm all around the town.

As always at the Trad Fest, we encourage everyone to come along and experience what should be a great weekend of music, song and dance – I think there is something to suit everyone!

February’s Clifden Comhaltas Monthly Sessions took place in Lowry’s Bar, Clifden, on Friday February 19 and was a great success, with more than 30 musicians taking part. Sligo’s Daithi Gormely, the current All Ireland Senior Accordion champion, was our special guest on the night, and he played in both youth and senior sessions with a great gathering of avid music followers to enjoy his performance. It’s an important part of our activities to bring special guest performers to the area for our young people to hear and also for the general public to enjoy. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for our next special guest.