Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival takes place from August 22-25
Dunmore East in County Waterford plays host to the 25th Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival from August 22-25.
Fans of bluegrass, honky-tonk, blues, country, Americana and rhythm ‘n’ roots are in for a real musical treat. The festival will feature a whole host of artists playing almost 40 free gigs throughout the village.
Making their Dunmore East debut is The 19th Street Band. Hailing originally from Holywood, Northern Ireland, Caolaidhe Davis moved to the US in 2005 to pursue a career in music. While establishing an earlier group, he found himself in need of a fiddle player. This led him to meet Meghan, who auditioned for his band. What Caolaidhe didn’t know was that he was also auditioning his future wife.
Fast forward a few months and the pair found themselves living on 19th Street in Arlington, Virginia. There, they wrote songs and created the sound that would become the backbone of The 19th Street Band - a fusion of Americana, country and rock.
Another new act to appear at this year’s festival is Missourian Liz Moriondo. Embarking on her first ever Irish tour, she is a talented singer-songwriter who is well known for her dynamic voice.
Liz Moriondo is en route to Dunmore East
There’s also Raglan Rodeo, a Dublin band renowned for their blend of originals and covers. Raglan Rodeo draws upon a wide range of influences, including Hank Williams and Carter family classics to Bob Dylan, Neil Young and other Americana artists.
Alfi, a new Dublin trio, combines Appalachian old-time music and Irish trad sounds to produce their own unique songs. Their tracks feature an unusual blend of harp, five-string banjo, low whistle, uilleann pipes and vocals.
Meanwhile, another notable fresh three-piece is acoustic harmony band The Blue Light Smugglers, comprising of Luke Coffey, Terence Cosgrave and Niall Hughes. Specialising in bluegrass, country and swing, the group can usually be found playing a residency at the Blue Light Pub, nestled at the foothills of the Dublin Mountains.
In terms of returning acts, there’s Pilgrim St, who made an electric Dunmore East debut in 2018. The seven-piece outfit bring a broad range of Americana, country, folk and bluegrass to their concerts. Those familiar with the group have come to expect a lively and energetic performance from Navan’s finest.
There’s also Lands End, whose members hail from Cork, Galway, Dublin, Munich, Liverpool and Gloucestershire. Whilst their music is strongly embedded in the bluegrass tradition, each bandmate brings a distinctive sound of their own to the musical arrangements of the group.
Another returning act is Kiss My Grass. Hailing from County Wexford, the band is all set to bring an energetic and vibrant bluegrass and rockabilly sound to the festival.
Meanwhile, Dublin outfit Whistle specialise in Americana-style folk, roots, bluegrass, country and rock ’n’ roll. Together the six-piece deliver multi-part vocal harmonies, alongside guitar, banjo, violin, bass, harmonica, mandolin and accordion instruments.
The Northern Irish based Mons Wheeler Big Band also makes a welcome return to the festival. Their trademark big rockabilly sound is guaranteed to get the crowds on their feet.
Another crowd-pleaser is Charlie Reader, often referred to as The One-Man Band, as the Liverpudlian artist performs acoustic folk melodies and harmonies with the energy one would typically expect from a full group.
The 25th Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival will kick off on August 22 at the Strand Inn in Dunmore East. The event heralds the start of 40 free gigs throughout the village at The Strand Inn, The Spinnaker Bar, Azzurro Restaurant, Power’s Bar and The Ocean Hotel.