Now in its fifth year, the award-winning, week-long Mayo Manchester Tradfest, a celebration of traditional Irish Music, Song and Dance Festival will mark the 20th anniversary of the staging of the world-famous Fleadh Cheoil in Ballina with a host of anniversary events and workshops. This year’s Festival is the largest yet.
In an event that reaches out to Mayo’s many diaspora and celebrates our rich musical heritage, over 500 performers from Mayo and Manchester will join forces in a unique International celebration of Irish Culture. There are over 70 events to choose from, most of which are free admission and family friendly.
Highlights of Mayo Manchester Tradfest include a gala concert at the Ballina Arts Centre, a live outside Radio broadcast from Midwest Radio plus a host of concerts at the Bonniconlon Agricultural Show, Swinford’s Siamsa Straide, the Attymass Gathering Festival, and other events taking place in Castlebar and Westport. There is also a host of fringe events, running alongside the main festival, taking place in the festival’s six ‘hubs’ in Attymass, Ballina, Bonniconlon, Castlebar, Swinford and Westport.
Featured artists from Manchester include the award winning Keegan Academy of Irish Dancing, Joe Keegan from the TV show The Voice, and old favourites, The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band. Featured performers from Mayo include: Sean-nós dancers Tommy Stenson and The Ganley Sisters, and singers The Murphy Sisters, Patrick Lacken and Pamela Gilmartin. Traditional musicians include the Admiral Browne CCE group plus musicians, singers and dancers from the renowned Atlantic Rhythm Production company.
The festival will once again be hosted by Alan Keegan from Manchester United Football Club. Known as ‘The Voice of Old Trafford’, Alan Keegan has been announcing the world-famous football stars at Manchester United and the National team’s stadium, Wembley since 2000. He is also an accomplished TV and radio broadcaster and author who has been involved with promoting Irish culture in Manchester for over thirty years.
The Festival will stage a free launch party and a live two hour radio broadcast by the award winning Midwest Radio at the Fr Peyton Centre in Attymass, North Mayo. The event features a host of special guests and performers. This event has been kindly sponsored by Excel Excavations, Manchester.
Friday 4 August, 8pm-10pm – Tradfest trail in Ballina
The group’s Irish Pipers, Musicians and Dancers will stage a Tradfest trail in Ballina from 8pm-10pm which will call into key locations in the town for a series of Flashmob performances. Venues already confirmed include the Sonas Moy Ridge Nursing Home, Hogans Bar, The Auld Sheeben, Katie’s Corner and the Broken Jug.
Saturday 5 August, 12 noon – MMTradfest celebrations start in Castlebar
The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band will be kick starting the MMTradfest celebrations at 12 noon outside the Irish House Bar on the main street in Castlebar.
Saturday 5 August, 7.30pm – Charity Gala Concert for Manchester Emergency Fund, Ballina
The Voice of Old Trafford, Mr Alan Keegan from Manchester United Football club is flying over from premiership club’s tour of the USA to host a special Charity Gala Concert in aid of the Manchester Emergency Fund at the Ballina Arts Centre at 7.30pm. All the profits from the show are being donated to the fund which is helping victims of the recent Terrorist bomb in Manchester. Performers on the night include: The Heroes for Hospice Choir featuring Patrick Lacken, The Ganley Sisters, Sean Nos Dancer Tommy Stenson, Dennis McCalmount, Joe Keegan from the BBC TV Show The Voice, The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band and The Keegan Academy of Irish Dancing, Jiving Juniors and Marian Waldron. Tickets for the historic show are priced at just €15 contact the Arts Centre on +353 96 73593 or visit the website at www.ballinaartscentre.com . This event has been kindly sponsored by Rosgal Civil Engineering, Manchester.
Sunday 6 August, 2pm – free afternoon session in Foxford
The festival visits the Mayfly Hotel Foxford for a free afternoon session and refreshments.
Sunday 6 August, 8pm – MMTradfest and Attymass Youth Choir and Musicians’ Concert, Attymass
MMTradfest joins forces with the Attymass Youth Choir and musicians to stage a special concert in Attymass to mark the closing night of the Attymass Gathering. The event takes place in the community centre in Attymass, there is a limited capacity so please arrive early for a seat. This event has been kindly sponsored by Rosgal Civil Engineering, Manchester.
Monday 7 August, 12 noon – Tradfest at Bonniconlon Show
The Tradfest will be making a brief appearance at the Bonniconlon Show to officially launch the event.
Monday 7 August, 7.30pm – Special Gala Concert in Westport
The Tradfest will stage a special Gala Concert at Westport Town Hall Theatre to celebrate Westport’s 250th anniversary. Headlining the event is Mayo’s award winning Trad band ‘Flatout’ who will be joined by Joe Keegan from the BBC TV show The Voice, plus The Keegan Academy of Irish Dancing who are trained by the new Lord of the Dance – James Keegan and his sister Louise along with The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band, Dennis McCalmount and special guests. This event has been kindly sponsored by Rosgal Civil Engineering, Manchester.
Tuesday 8 August, 9pm – Special session in An Sionnach Rua pub, Attymass
The tradfest will stage a special session in the An Sionnach Rua Pub in Bonnifinglas, Attymass to thank Gerry Lavelle the owner of the pub for kindly sponsoring the accommodation for the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band.
Wednesday 9 August, 9pm – Special trad session in Matt Molloy’s Music venue, Westport
The Festival is brought to a close in Westport at the legendary Matt Molloy’s Music venue with a special Trad session on Wednesday 9 August.
Visit www.mayomanchester.com for updates and ticketing information for Mayo Manchester Tradfest 2017.
For a taste of what’s in store, check out the video below featuring some of the many, many highlights of Mayo Manchester Tradfest 2016!