Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Bluegrass opens folk festival in Northern Ireland

Broken Strings at the Ulster American Folk Park

The Cairncastle Ulster Scots Folk Festival in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, has been celebrating the traditional culture and music of Ulster for the past ten years. This year, the eleventh festival will have a special opening evening (Wednesday 27 July) dedicated to bluegrass music, played by leading bluegrass bands from Ireland.

Immigrants from the north of Ireland and Scotland played an important role in settling the southern states of what is now the USA, and especially the Appalachian region. This strong link contributes to the success of the annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival at Omagh, Co. Tyrone. The lineup at Cairncastle on 27 July is headed by the five-piece Broken Strings from Co. Down (see photo above), who regularly play at Omagh. Also performing at Cairncastle are Juke Joint from Co. Armagh, the Barnstormers from Co. Londonderry, and Bending the Strings from Mullingar in the Irish midlands.

The evening will be compered by Alistair McReynolds, a well-known writer on Scots-Irish history and culture who is also a bluegrass enthusiast. In the intervals bagpiper Ross Hume will play many tunes. The evening begins at 7.30 p.m. and admittance is £6.00.