Clonakilty – Guitartown

On the first day Our Lord created the guitar. On the second day He created Clonakilty. He joined them together on the third day. Clonakilty has been Guitartown ever since.

September, 2015 sees the eleventh edition of the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival, and this year’s feast is the most eclectic and electric yet. There’s an Iraqi oud player; musical score award winners from the Sundance Film Festival; the most exciting hip-hop act in Ireland today; genius exponents of the five-string claw-hammer banjo and the hambone(!); and more, much much more. There’s even someone who appeared on the “Easy Rider” soundtrack and introduced the word “psychedelic” to popular music in 1964. Far out!

There’s variety in the acts playing and there’s variety in the venues they play in. Pubs, libraries, camper-vans, churches, street-corners, beaches, butcher shops – anything could happen, anywhere. Every year the coastal town embraces the guitar as the festival surrounds this most scenic of locations in a blanket of string-based sounds. The festival is an independently-spirited, community-based, audience-friendly weekend of musical treats. It’s a celebration of Clonakilty: Guitartown.

2015 highlights include exclusive European performances by the ‘Aussie desert rose’ Mama Kin, US roots sensation Valerie June (her singular sound bridging the gap between Alan Lomax & Jack White!) the Iraqi Blur-collaborator Khyam Allami; The Octopus Project from the USA (veterans of shared bills with Devo and Explosions In The Sky, and appearances at Coachella and Lollapalloza festivals); The Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band (Stampfel was a member of The Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs – now that’s pedigree!); the Snoop Dogg-endorsed Rusangano Family; Nashville royalty Casey Black; Old Time Music practitioners extraordinaire Leonard Podolak (Canada) and Matt Gordon (USA); Rough Trade folkie Rachel Sermanni; and local heroes The Vespertine Quintet (who’ve lined up some very special guests for their performance).

The eleventh Clonakilty International Guitar Festival has so many bits of everything that it actually has everything. There’s no excuses – in September, come on down to Guitartown! Confirmed artists to date: The Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band (US), Mama Kin (AU), Rusangano Family (IRL/ZW/TG), Valerie June (US), Khyam Allami (IRAQ), The Minutes (IRL), Rachel Sermanni (SCO), Steve Cooney (AU), Joel Plaskett (CAN), The Octopus Project (US), The Vespertine Quintet (IRL/UK), Leonard Podolak (CAN), Matt Gordon (US), Bill Shanley (IRL), Jim Murray (IRL), Land Crabs (IRL/ON LAND), Vespertine Quintet (IRL/UK), Tommy Madden (IRL), Casey Black (US), Mo Kenny (CAN) The Vincent(s) (IRL), more to be announced….



Aidan O Keefe