Cork Folk Festival returns to showcase Ireland's best acts

Mick Flannery

The 37th annual Cork Folk Festival will showcase some of Ireland’s best folk and traditional acts in 12 venues around the city from Wednesday through to Sunday.

Since 1979, the festival has earned a reputation for bringing together some of the biggest names on the traditional and folk scene — as well as championing some of its up-and-coming stars.

The festival’s highlights include Mick Flannery, an unassuming artist from Blarney whose sole focus is on his craft of songwriting.

Also in the line-up are Lynched, whose repertoire spans humorous Dublin music-hall ditties, street-songs, and classic ballads from the Traveller tradition. Another highlight is the Northumbrian band the Unthanks, featuring sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank.

As expected, traditional musicians star at the festival, including Buttons & Bows, featuring brothers Séamus and Manus McGuire, Jackie Daly, and Garry O’Briain, plus We Banjo 3 from Galway, who are made up of brothers Enda and Fergal Scahill, Dave and Martin Howley, and Garry O’Meara.

The festival also features a return of the Céilí Mór, featuring the Allow Céilí Band and hundreds of dancers at Cork City Hall.

Open-air events include ‘Pluck on Plunkett — a folk music extravaganza on Oliver Plunkett St — and Food ’n‘ Folk on Grand Parade, featuring street food and live music.

The festival also presents the premiere of a musical project called Atlantic Arc Orchestra, under musical director Dónal Lunny of Moving Hearts fame.

The festival line-up includes UK troubadour Steve Tilston and legendary English songwriter Roy Harper, while, from Donegal, the Henry Girls also play the festival. The popular Harvesters are also coming from Warwick Folk Festival.


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