Earagail Arts Festival celebrated its 25th Anniversary last year, the venue based festival which is held throughout County Donegal, Ireland has become something of an iconic festival event. It is well known for its eclectic and alternative music, visual arts, circus and theatre programmes alongside spoken word, film, family and children centred events. In a nutshell it has it all which also means you’ll be pretty much spoilt for choice.
This year the festival takes place between 12-26 July 2014. Celebrating both award-wining local and international artists the line-up is always a bit special and this year proves no exception.
In Letterkenny this year you’ll find a stunning bill that includes a concert featuring three of Ireland’s most celebrated female performers – Sharon Shannon, Frances Black and Mary Coughlan – all 3 artists have been part of the history-making A Woman’s Heart project and each is a prolific and award winning artist in their own right. Playing alongside them will be Co Donegal’s hottest new roots music exports The Henry Girls who launched their new album Louder Than Words in February this year.
The Henry Girls (2014 Album Launch – Filmed live in An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny)
The festival caters for many musical tastes and always has a World Music presence which has previously included the Senegalese griot story teller and musician Solo Cissokho. This year Tuareg guitarist and singer Omara “Bombino” Moctar will be performing who featured on Folk Radio UK with a Song of the Day back in February for Azamane Tiliade from his album Nomad which was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.
For those that like to explore there is plenty to see and do. You can camp on the beautifully scenic Isle of Arranmore, head for a Drive-In movie at Ards Forest Park, head for elegant Letterkenny, find a cosy pub with a classic Irish pub sessions…take in the many concerts and shows covering theatre, music, arts and crafts. There is so much to do and it’s spread throughout a host of towns, villages and rural settings – including offshore attractions.
Other highlights that caught our eye in the programme this year include Cavan’s Lisa O’Neill who recently released her new album Same Cloth or Not. Here she is performing No Train to Cavan:
Also appearing this year are the very fine Emily Portman Trio featuring the bewitching talents of Emily, Lucy Farrell and Rachel Newton who regular listeners and readers of Folk Radio UK will be no stranger to.
The North West of Ireland has produced some of finest traditional and contemporary musicians which will be celebrated by a specially commissioned broadcast event for RTÉ Radio 1. The North Wind Blows sees broadcaster and producer Philip King bring the much acclaimed South Wind Blows radio programme to the wilds of Donegal. The programme will feature disparate musical voices and traditions including a new collaboration between Altan’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Conchur White (Silences) and Villagers’ Tommy McLaughlin.
For those that love their traditional music make sure you catch the closing Gala Night Donegal Master Fiddlers’ performance that will showcase the talents of three of the region’s greatest living trad players – Vincent Campbell, Dinny McLaughlin and Danny Meehan – on stage with a cream-of-the-crop line-up of new generation talent, including the band, Fidil.
The west Donegal Gaeltacht village of Falcarragh, meanwhile, will host a weekend of singing, dancing and merriment with an array of local and visiting acts at various venues, the Fianna Phadraig Irish Pipe Band in attendance and a range of arts, crafts and sculpture workshops.
It promises to be a great festival, you can download a brochure here.
Earagail Arts Festival, Co Donegal, from July 12 to 26.
For full programme information, advice on flight and other travel options as well as accommodation deals, or to book online, visit the www.eaf.ie website. The festival box office is located at An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny – tel: +353 (0) 74 9120777