Teacht an Earraigh as Tradfest launches its headline acts

Clare Sands

As we battle through a current cold snap, Tradfest Kilkenny’s organisers have launched the headline acts who will grace the city’s stages and venues on St. Patrick’s weekend this year. Perennial favourites Hothouse Flowers, John Spillane and Iarla Ó Lionáird will be joined by newcomers including Pádraig Jack, Buíoch, Breaking Trad and Clare Sands.

Festival Committee Chairperson, Brendan Treacy, said they were very excited with this year’s lineup and the fact that tickets are already selling within days of becoming available:

‘Kilkenny Tradfest’s small team have worked really hard in recent months to secure some of the best performers in the traditional music scene in Ireland. Despite the attraction for so many artists to travel abroad for the national festival, we have consistently attracted both long-established acts and relative newcomers who are showing the brightness of the future of traditional and folk music.

We are particularly excited to host the legendary Shaskeen group with Katie Theasby, celebrating their fifty-third year in the music business. Having been formed in London in 1970, they have released fifteen albums in that time and have featured some of the best-known names in traditional music over the more than half a century of their time on the road. The band is led by Tom Cussen, along with fellow Clare musicians Eamonn and Clare Cotter, Mary Liddy and Dave Sanders. Connemara box player Patsy McDonagh and Mayo bodhrán player, Johnny Donnellan are joined by London native and Clare-based singer, Katie Theasby, who has been singing on the Irish and English folk scene for decades, including an appearance at Glastonbury festival at just fourteen years of age. The band will perform in the Pembroke Hotel on Saturday 16th March at 7.00 pm.

Hothouse Flowers are always a hit in Kilkenny, since their earliest appearances in the 1980’s. They have close family contacts in the county and always put on a powerful and upbeat performance with numbers from their own back catalogue of over twelve albums. They also heavily feature their own takes on Irish and international sean-nós and traditional songs and tunes. Their Friday night (15th March gig at 8.30 pm) sees our festival return to the Ormonde Hotel, which has hosted many legendary gigs over the years and there will be plenty room for dancing to the Flowers pulsating beats!

Pádraig Jack from Inis Mór on the Aran Islands has been making waves in the singing scene in recent years and featuring in festival line-ups all over the country and abroad. The bilingual singer-songwriter broke through with his debut album Making Sand which immediately became RTÉ Radio’s album of the week and earned him nominations in the national folk awards’

Brendan thanked the festival committee and all the members of Kilkenny City Vintners for their hard work putting on the festival so far and said they were looking forward to another great St. Patrick’s weekend with seventy free sessions on the festival’s Bulmers Music Trail.

Kilkenny is definitely where the musicians want to be for the national holiday and we look forward to seeing so many old friends of the festival getting together for mighty tunes and songs, here in Ireland’s medieval capital.

The festival has put all the tickets for its headline, paid and ticketed events on https://kilkennytradfest.com/tickets/ and will be releasing more information in the coming weeks.

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