Phew! July is speeding to a climactic finish and I am still trying to digest all that has happened since last we spoke. It is always a dangerous thing to take ‘a few days for myself’ away from the blog. I felt I deserved it after the wonderful chaos and community of ‘A Midsummer Day’s Dream’ but a few days became a week and suddenly the Festival was upon me. Chances of blogging during Festival – slim to none. Things to blog about during Festival – incalculable!
So let’s get started…
Fiddler’s Green Festival takes place every year in my boooootiful home town of Rostrevor. Since the beginning of my memories living here (we moved from Belfast when Lil Sis No.1 was born, so I was 4) the Festival has been the mark of mid-summer holidays. Always at the end of July, we knew that the Festival meant evening Ceili’s (Irish set dancing parties, usually to a live band) in the village square, ice cream, possibly a ramble up the ‘hills’ and wall to wall quality Irish folk and traditional music for 7 days running. Yup, the summer was good for an inquisitive little music lover like myself who had no problem pairing up with friendly old ladies for the ‘Walls of Limerick’! (Thanks to my Nana Moriarty for teaching me the steps in her living room)
Thanks to the Fiddler’s Green we’ve had such amazing acts pass through our wee dot on the map as Eddie Reader, Mary Black, Paddy Moloney (of The Cheiftains), Andy Irvine, The Dubliners, and Pete Seeger (WOW!) to name but a few. Even Seamus Heaney paid a visit in 2000! Seeing incredibly talented and dedicated musicians play live was a revelation to me. I had always really enjoyed trad. (traditional) music and folk but, sure, it wasn’t very cool. Kind of like admitting you like Country or something, so I kept it a bit quiet even though I learned the tinwhistle and played in the trad. group at school. But in Rostrevor, it was cool! It was more than cool…these people were magical. Their fingers blurred as they segued into the next tune and my mind expanded at a rate of knots.
Many a gig seen here has changed my musical outlook, encouraged me to practice harder and inspired me to song-write/sing/play with passion. In fact, I do believe my first ever gig with a band was at the Fiddler’s Green, under the name ‘Alchemy’ and a few mates from school.
As Tommy Sands so rightly said this year at ‘The Music of Healing’ concert,
“In Ireland, family always comes home for Christmas. In Rostrevor, family always comes home for the Festival!”
So as you can probably gather from all my waxing lyrical about it, I love the Festival and I had a brilliant time this year! I gigged for the first time in TWO years. I heard great music, saw old friends and made loads of new ones. I then promptly got sick on the last weekend. I battled through with the help of vitamin C, baths, tea and essential oils but I was shattered by the time it all wound to a close on Sunday night. I have been hibernating since then but am now ready to Face the World (cyberly) and spill the beans over the next few days on this years Festival! Stay tuned…(heehee, literally…)
You an learn more about the Festival, its history, the Hall of Fame Award, who has graced it stages before and how you could come next year if you want (oh, yes please, do come!!) at its official website -> HERE <- and you can get in on the Fiddler’s Facebook action right -> HERE <-