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Lord Mayor launches Cork Folk Festival, with a song
One of the longest-running folk festivals in Ireland will return to venues across Cork city at the end of September writes Pádraig O’Connor
Cork Folk Festival was officially launched, in style, by Lord Mayor Cllr. Kieran McCarthy, who gave a rousing rendition of The Banks of My Own Lovely Lee at a curtain raiser in St. Peter’s Church on North Main Street.
The 44th edition of the folk festival runs from September 27 until October 1. Just as with Sounds from a Safe Harbour, which closed this past weekend, the folk festival will take place in venues across the city, with events also stretching into the suburbs.
At the launch night, the Lord Mayor spoke about the necessity of festivals in the city and how Cork Folk Festival is “an important piece of the festival scene, as some festivals come and go, but this one is still going as strong as ever”.
It’s a festival that “packs an enormous punch” the Lord Mayor added, and he was keen to emphasise the quality of music that will be on show, and in so many different venues on both sides of the river. This year’s programme features 35 events and will bring over 200 musicians to the city.
Included in the lineup for the five-day festival this year, are Frances Black, Sharon Shannon and Mary Coughlan, all well established and household names by now. But, as Jim Walsh, chairman of the festival told those in attendance last night, “all played in the festival many years ago when they were completely unknown, young up and coming musicians”.
Other notable performers on the bill at the end of the month are Ron Block, Martin Carthy, Siobhán O’ Brien, as well as John Spillane and Cónal Creedon.
Festival directors Jim Walsh and William Hammond shared the mic at the launch, with Walsh outlining the change in how the festival is received in the city, mentioning that in its inaugural year in 1979, traditional music “was not as welcome in the city”, but he was thrilled that that was no longer the case.
Hammond for his part was looking forward to many of the wonderful acts that will be coming to Cork this year, but on a more poignant note, also wished to remember some of the people who were integral parts of the festival’s success down through the years, but sadly are no longer with us. These included Timmy ‘The Brit’ McCarthy, Tony Grace and Seamus Begley.
There were live performances at the launch by Karan Casey, singing a song from her upcoming new show The Women, We Will Rise, which will take place in The Everyman Theatre, as well a song each by Áine Kelliher of the Cork Singers Club, a duet featuring Mary Greene and Noel Shine, and finally, a beautiful song by John Neville, who will play a special intimate gig in Coughlan’s Bar.
The Douglas Comhlatas band provided tunes for the evening, and all in attendance were given a wonderful flavour of what audiences can expect throughout the festival.
Full details about all the musicians and events can be found at the Cork Folk Festival website.
Six events to look out for at this year’s Cork Folk Festival:
Karan Casey – The Women, We Will Rise @ The Everyman Theatre from Wednesday September 27 until Saturday September 30. Theatrical Song Cycle asking questions about the women of Ireland, past, present and future.
Damien O’ Kane & Ron Block @ Triskel ChristChurch Friday September 29 BBC 2 Radio Folk Award Winner joins forces with Alison Krauss & Union Station banjo star
William Jack @ Cork City Library Saturday September 30 Multi-style cello recital exploring genres and cultures from around the globe
A lunchtime concert with John Spillane and Conal Creedon @ Triskel Christchurch 1pm
Martin Carthy, Matt Cranitch & Jackie Daly @Triskel Christchurch Saturday September 30 One of folk music’s greatest innovators, joined by two acknowledged masters of the rich musical tradition of Sliabh Luachra.
Frances Black, Sharon Shannon & Mary Coughlan @ Cork Opera House Sunday October 1 Three legendary acts performing their own sets followed by everyone coming back onstage for an encore