Sunshine and Bluegrass draw record crowds to Dunmore East
Under blue skies, the village of Dunmore East was the picture-perfect backdrop to the 25th Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival, the four-day festival of free banjo pickin', foot tappin' mandolin' pluckin', barnstormin', step dancin' fiddle playin', double bass clawin' bluegrass, Americana, country and roots sessions.
The festival attracts some of the biggest names on the bluegrass scene and this year the festival also featured a wide range of young and vibrant UK and Irish bluegrass, roots, rockabilly and country talent, which didn’t disappoint the large crowds.
The line-up of 11 acts played almost 40 free gigs throughout the four-day festival and audiences were introduced to Nashville’s Liz Moriondo, embarking on her first-ever Irish tour and on the receiving end of a warm Irish welcome.
The musical talent came from far and wide as The 19th Street Band, with roots in Arlington, Virginia rocked Dunmore East and were a huge hit with their vibrant, high- energy performances.
The Dunmore East Bluegrass festival has been running every year since 1995. Festival Organiser, Mick Daly, was delighted with the attendance, the reaction to the festival and the artists performing this year.
“It was a fantastic festival with our biggest numbers ever. The music acts got a warm and rapturous welcome wherever they played, and the weather couldn’t have been better. We’re lucky to have such a scenic setting for the festival with so many visitors remarking on the beauty of the village.”
“After 25 years the festival is still attracting big-name bluegrass and roots acts. Pilgrim St, Lands End, Mons Wheeler and Charlie Reader have performed here several times and love coming back to Dunmore East. And we love them returning as they bring something special to the festival each year.”
The festival was officially opened by Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John Pratt on Thursday evening at the Strand Inn followed by performances from Liz Moriondo and Kiss My Grass.
“The support from visitors who travelled far and wide to the festival was wonderful and they turned out in their droves over the weekend to see, hear and experience some great musical talent. Local businesses and the community are invaluable in their support and this year, we were grateful, to once again receive funding from Waterford City and County Council. The festival is run on a voluntary basis and without this support we wouldn’t be in a position to keep bringing great bluegrass, Americana and rockabilly music to Dunmore East.”
Mick added, “Back in the day, the festival primarily appealed to bluegrass purists, however, each year the remit broadens and whilst the festival is still as popular with hardened roots music fans, it also appeals to anyone who enjoys a great old-style, toe-tappin’ tune. That was clearly in evidence by the immense number of people that came to Dunmore East over the Bluegrass weekend.”