Cairncastle Bluegrass and Folk Festival

Prairie Jaywalkers.
Prairie Jaywalkers.

Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass and Folk Festival will feature international bands playing Irish, Scottish, country and Bluegrass music.

This year, there will be musical evenings on Thursday July 27, July 28 and July 29 with cultural evenings on July 25 and July 26.

Island Fiddlers.

Island Fiddlers.

Workshops will take place on the afternoons of July 27, July 28 and July 29,

The Musical Bus Tour will take place on July 19, and there will be a non-denominational praise service on July 30.

Musical evenings at the Halfway House Hotel, Ballygally will feature the cream of Bluegrass bands including Bluestack Mountain Boys from Dublin and Prairie Jaywalkers, from Cork, playing a mixture of traditional Bluegrass and Americana.

The evenings continue on Friday July 28 with an evening of folk music featuring Stonewall folk band from County Armagh playing traditional Scottish music and songs.

Blue Stack Mountains.

Blue Stack Mountains.

Willie Drennan’s Ulster Scots Band will finish the night with rousing versions of Ulster-Scots songs and fiddle tunes.

The musical evenings will finish on July 29 with a soirée of Scottish, country and Irish featuring over 20 musicians, including Stewart Buchanan – accordionist and trained baritone from County Donegal, Islanders – three fiddlers from Carrick, John Burns, accordionist and country singer from Maghera, Richard Findlay – accordionist and country singer, from Portadown and country singer Michael McSparron, from Carnlough.

Workshops will also be held at the Halfway House Hotel on July 27 - keyboard playing commences at 1.00pm and history of Bluegrass music commences at 3.00pm. On July 28, bagpipes (demonstrate various parts of manufacture, with emphasis on drone reeds how to fit them and get them tuned etc) commences at 1.00pm, Ulster Scots and Irish languages commences at 3.00pm; July 29 - accordion (how tunes differ when played on the accordion in various parts of Ireland) commences at 1.00pm, and Irish and Ulster-Scots history will cover the battle of Passchendaele in summer 1917, when 36th Ulster Division and 16th Irish Division fought together against the German army.

Admission to all workshops is free.

Cultural evenings will commence on July 25 in Cairncastle Presbyterian Church Hall with a mixture of Old Time, sequence and Scottish dancing. Admission £4; July 26, musical and dance display featuring Cairncastle’s well-known folk band The Grouse Beaters (comprising members from Whitehead, Larne, Antrim, Ballymena, Ballyclare and Cookstown), and dance display of Scottish country, Irish, Scottish Highland, Indian, Polish and Mexican dancers. Admission free. Both events commence at 7.30pm.

A musical bus tour to Armagh city will take place on Wednesday July 19, leaving Halfway House Hotel, Ballygally at 8.45am travelling via Banbridge, Scarva, Tandragee and Hamiltonsbawn. On arrival, passengers can have a tour of the city followed by a music session and time for shopping etc. Coach returns via Loughgall, Dan Winters Cottage, Moira, Templepatrick returning at approximately 5.00pm for a meal in the hotel. Price of tour and meal is £22 each.

An Ulster Scots praise service – will be held on Sunday July 30 at 3.00pm in Cairncastle Presbyterian Church Hall featuring Gospel singers Full Armour Gospel Group, John Burns, from Maghera, Stewart Buchanan from County Donegal and Wilbert Clarke from Carnalbanagh. A collection will be taken in aid of Roddensvale School.

A charity musical evening will be held on Friday August 11 at Halfway House Hotel, Ballygally, featuring Kenny Archer, country singer and yodeller. Commences at 8.00pm. Admission £10.

For more information, email or phone 07810294638.