THE BIG WHISTLE FESTIVAL is an annual event that celebrates music played on the tin whistle and the musicians who create it. This year’s event, which takes place at The Met in Bury on Saturday 12 May, will feature five concerts performed by the Michael McGoldrick Big Band, Aizle, the Andy May Trio, Drop the Floor and Don’t Feed the Peacocks.
David Agnew, artistic director of The Met, said “we love Big Whistle as the venue is packed with great talent with opportunities to play, share or watch. This year we’ve some thrilling new names on the lineup with what promises to be a memorable Saturday night finish with Mike McGoldrick and band”.
Headlining the festival and closing the event will be the MICHAEL MCGOLDRICK BIG BAND. Led by multi-award-winning Manchester-born flute and whistle player Michael McGoldrick (described as “one of the greatest flute players in the world” by BBC Music) this nine-piece folk supergroup will be making a rare live appearance to perform the music from McGoldrick’s fifth album ARC, recently released on Vertical records and reviewed here on Folk Radio.
ARC is a rich, varied and essential release for anyone who likes traditional music with plenty of thoroughly contemporary reference points and bright tunes that reveal more layers with repeated listening…a superlative work that sounds quite unlike anything else you’ll hear any time soon. Dave McNally, Folk Radio
AIZLE are a highly respected instrumental quintet who play an inventive mix of new and traditional folk tunes. Folk Radio UK called their debut EP “hugely enjoyable” and were also lucky enough to catch them live in what they described as a “captivating set” which had the audiences attention in no time.
To their huge credit they had the audience’s full attention in no time, playing a captivating set that showcased the variety of arrangements heard on the EP, of which they deservedly sold plenty of at the end of the night. Dave McNally, Folk
The ANDY MAY TRIO are Northumbrian piper Andy May, guitarist Ian Stephenson and fiddler Sophy Ball, three award-winning musicians from Newcastle whose energetic instrumental music is inspired by the rich traditions of their native north-east.
“with their abundant enthusiasm, a mutual empathy bordering on instinct and, above all, a collective passion for the music they play; it’s as a single, cohesive unit that the Andy May Trio shines brightest and About Time is the superb result.” Neil McFadyen, Folk Radio
DROP THE FLOOR play high energy jigs and songs from the Irish tradition. A four-piece from Clitheroe in Lancashire, the band recently released their second album “Fairly Cookin”.
DON’T FEED THE PEACOCKS are a young six-piece band from Lancashire and Yorkshire, who play unusual arrangements of age-old and modern day pieces inspired by reggae and jazz as well as folk. The band members first performed together as part of the National Youth Folk Ensemble.
Festival talks, classes and sessions
Big Whistle is unusual amongst festivals in that it offers the opportunity to take part; as well as watching concerts featuring the featured bands, festival goers can also meet and learn from the band members and other whistling experts in musical classes, talks, demonstrations and free sessions throughout the day.
There will be eleven such sessions on May 12 including an introductory whistle class led by tutor Emma Sweeney, an interview session where Radio Lancashire’s Phil Brown will quiz Andy May about his musical history, and a class for children led by the students of One Education Music.
Tickets for Big Whistle Festival 2018 are available now from The Met at https://themet.org.uk/whats-on/big-whistle/ or by calling 0161 761 2216. Tickets can be booked for individual concerts, and discounts are available for booking multiple events.