The All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil may not be taking place for the second year in succession because of Covid but the sound of traditional Irish music and song will still be echoing from Yeats Country this summer.
It’s all thanks to Fleadhfest, a virtual Fleadh Cheoil taking place in Sligo from August 1st to 9th.
Sligo now has a proud record in hosting the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil, the county town having been the venue for the massive event on five occasions: first for three years in succession: 1989, 1990 and 1991, and more recently in 2014 and 2015.
This year, the event will be virtual . . . it’s being called Fleadhfest . . . and will feature many of the events typical of an actual real-time Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.
These will include concerts, sessions, competitions, recitals and more.
Top names include Dervish, Téada and Niamh Farrell, the Máirtín O Connor Trio, Moxie and the Knocknarea Ceili Band, all of whom will play live from the Fleadhfest gig rig in the Peace Park, which will be located between the cathedral and the Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo.
All content will be streamed free-to-air, with concerts, sessions and competitions throughout the nine-day festival available across the social media channels of Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann and broadcast partner TG4, as well as on the Fleadh website.
Bartley Gavin, chairman of the organising committee of Fleadhfest, says there’s not only an all-Ireland but also a world dimension to the event, reflecting what is now the global appeal of the traditional All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil.
Because Fleadhfest will be a virtual event, Mr Gavin is also eager to dispel any idea that large public gatherings will be taking place.
Despite pandemic restrictions continuing, Mr Gavin says Fleadhfest is an excellent opportunity to yet again promote Sligo’s unique contribution to the development of traditional Irish music around the world and, in the process, promote Sligo itself.