A Feast of Music to Suit all tastes in Sixmilebridge and Bunratty, Co Clare this weekend

Shannonside Winter Music Festival now in its 19th Year

The Shannonside Winter Music Festival, which commences this Thursday, 18th January and runs through to Monday 22nd, will deliver a hectic schedule of 80 events across 15 locations between Sixmilebridge and Bunratty in Co Clare, bringing an eclectic mix of music styles to brighten the gloomiest winter.


The 2018 trad highlight is the Saturday concert with fiddle legend Frankie Gavin and concertina master Noel Hill, joined by pianist Brian McGrath, while bluegrass fans look forward to the return of Greg Blake who has formed a special band from an elite collection of top-notch American bluegrass artistes.


Jimmy Bozeman & the Lazy Pigs, bring honky tonk / country-bluegrass sounds from the Czech Rep. and from France, Sarah Savoy is back playing wild Cajun tunes.

On the home front, Luka Bloom makes his first festival appearance. From Mayo, Flat Out bring trad and original folk while Coda bring sweet mellow harmonies. The Polyphonics Barbershop Chorus join in from Cork, and DD and the Delta Blues band will rock down from Donegal. Cork is well represented with Two Time Polka (Cajun) replacing Skazz on the schedule and Cork poetry group O’Bhéal, headed by Paul Casey will give festival goers a break from all the music on Saturday at 5pm. Swiss country band Maple Tree Circus are back, as are the Athenry Youth Orchestra who partner with an exciting young band from Dublin, ReGroovanation. Classic Bluegrass will be provided by the group Woodbine while festival favourites, The Fake McCoy’s will entertain with their ragtime county blues.


A full-day of concerts at Bunratty Folk Park gives the day tripper a chance to experience a variety of songs and tunes. Singer’s sessions featuring members of Coda, Brian O’Rourke, Aidan Agnew and Grainne Hunt along with representatives from many of the other bands will fill the pubs with atmosphere.


As always, the set dancing featuring Johnny Reidy in Bunratty Castle Hotel is always well supported, and sessions throughout both villages will feature the best of local and visiting talent. Ruaile Buaile will close the festival on Sunday at one of the great new stages available to the festival this year.


Festival director Brendan Walsh, who initiated the festival and continues to work with the organising committee to increase the content each year says: “This is the hidden gem in the Irish music and festival calendar and is a great start to the year. We are always delighted with the numbers that support us. It’s a festival for eclectic music lovers and families, organised by musicians with families and that’s why we have mixed music in pubs with the music trail day in Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This gives families the opportunity to savour all of the acts in a non-pub environment. Its appeal is growing year on year. We can’t wait for he music to begin on Thursday.”


All music, except the headline concerts and Bunratty Folk Park are free of charge. Ticketed concerts can be booked online, at the venues or at the Festival office in Bunratty Castle Hotel over the weekend. A shuttle bus will run hourly between Sixmilebridge and Bunratty each day, commencing at 7pm on Friday and Saturday and 10.30am on Sunday. Full Festival details available online or in the festival brochure; copies of which will be available at each of the participating venues or at the Festival office, which opens at 4pm on Friday.


The Shannonside Winter Music Festival is supported by the Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland, Clare County Council, Metis Ireland, Shannon Springs Hotel and Lenmac Services.

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