Live Preview: Spirit of Folk & Clonakilty International Guitar Festival

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So the summer festival season is ending. It’s time to hang up the poncho, put away the tent, and clean the wellies. That’s the end of live outdoor music then. But wait, no it isn’t, two festivals have chosen to brave this wet September and make like it’s July Wexford. Although you might not be guaranteed the weather this weekend, the Spirit of Folk Festival and the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival.


Spirit of Folk 
Where: Dunderry, Co. Meath
Tickets: €70 Day Tickets €40

The Spirit of Folk festival is celebrating its fifth year in existence. The event has grown from strenght to strenght in the past few years. Although centred around the music, the festival has widened to incorporate a kids area, yoga, book club, archery, pop-up theatre, poetry and more workshops. It really looks like an impressive weekend of activities. If you are not being entertained by the music, then you will definitely find something to do outside of the music tents.
Speaking of the music, that’s the main attraction for an event like this. The festival includes sets from the Eirecana featured Mariannes, Blood Red Mountain Band, The Midnight Union Band, Moongoose, as well as the likes of Mick Flannery, Moxie, Cuig and more. While the title of the festival would suggest that the scene might be a lot of acoustic guitars and cigerette lighters in the air, the line-up suggests otherwise. The likes of the Midnight Union Band, Bloof Red Mountain Band, Moxie and others will suggest you will be spending as much time dancing this weekend as swaying.

Clonakilty International Guitar Festival 
Where: Clonakility, Co. Cork Tickets: FREE with some gigs Individually Priced (€10-€12)

Returning for its eleventh year, the Clonakilty Guitar Festival celebrates all aspects of the guitar. The festival features acts from many genres from classical guitar performances to folk and more.
The festival is run as a non-for-profit by a voluntary team. The festival line-up is also mostly free to see with only four shows actually ticketed. That’s a great incentive to attend.

The festival also features a number of workshops over the weekend including a ukulele workshop with members of the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra and a hip-hop workshop with Limerick based Rusangano Family.

The acts at this year’s festival that caught my eye include the likes of country act Casey Black. Casey is an honest country/folk songwriter. From what I read he has written as many songs for other artists as for himself. A real talent with words. “Flowers” gives you an idea of what I’m talking about.

I would recommend checking out over the weekend the likes of Mo Kenney (the female Mark Mulcahy?), the lovely harmonies of Lucy Peach and Cork’s own Low Mountain and new to me Wayward Folk.

The festival also features the likes of The Minutes, Valerie June, Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band and more. See the timetable for the weekend here.

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