Mayo Manchester Tradfest stage Spectacular finish in Westport
It was standing room only at the final gig of this years 2017 week long Mayo Manchester Tradfest in the world famous Matt Molloys. The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band who are celebrating their 70th anniversary next year led a parade through the town that brought the town to a standstill. The band then joined a group of fifteen musicians and singers led by Joe Keegan from the TV show, The Voice in a three hour seisiun which featured guest musicians from as far away as Pennsylvania in the USA.
Tony Hennigan the director of the Tradfest commented "It was a great finish to an exhausting but very enjoyable week long traditional Irish Music, Song and Dance Festival. I must aplogise to the people who could not squeeze into the venue for our last gig, it was a fantastic atmosphere and very fitting to stage our final event in such an iconic venue. The venue could not believe the size of the crowd we attracted and how they will still shouting for more after three hours."
The Mayo Manchester Tradfest is now in its fifth year and has already won a number of prestigious awards and won through to the 2017 Final of the Tourism Ireland Industry Awards for Festivals which attract over 50,000 visitors. This year the unique festival featured performers from Mayo and Manchester and featured over 100 events which involved over 500 performers in the week-long celebration.
Events took place in Attymass, Ballina, Bonniconlon, Castlebar, Foxford and Westport. Festival Highlights included a launch in Ballina by Senator Michelle Mulherin on Thursday 3 August which featured an outdoor broadcast by Midwest Radio station and featured over 70 performers on the night. On Friday it staged a Tradfest flash mob Trail with surprise gigs all over Ballina which included a special treat to the residents of Ballina's newly opened Riverview Sonas Nursing Home. On Saturday 5 August Mayo Manchester visited Castlebar to launch the festival at 12 noon in the Irish House Bar and Collins Music Store. The group were greeted by the Mayor of Castlebar, Cllr Martin McLoughlin, Cllr Blackie Gavin and Lisa Chambers TD who were ecstatic about their performance and offered to stage a civic reception for them next year to celebrate the Mayo Manchester Tradfest and the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Bands 70th anniversary.
Saturday evening saw the group stage a special charity event in aid of the victims of the recent Manchester Arena attack which saw over 100 musicians, singers and dancers perform a two hour concert at the Ballina Arts Centre hosted by Alan Keegan from Manchester United Football Club.
The CEO of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes welcomed the group to Foxford of Sunday 6 August where they performed a Parade from the Foxford Woolen Mills to the Mayfly Hotel where they staged an afternoon seisiun. On Sunday evening the group performed a concert with the Attymass Youth Choir in the recently re-opened Attymass Community Centre.
Monday 7 August saw the group open the Bonniconlon Show with a parade through the showgrounds and performance in Mayo.ie Food and during the evening the group staged a special Tradfest concert at Westport Theatre to celebrate the towns 250th Anniversary. Cllr Christy Hyland the chair of Westport 250 welcomed the group to the town and paid tribute to them for staging the concert.
On Tuesday 8 August the group staged a special a 5 hour non-stop round the fire seisisun involving musicians, singers, dancers and a parade around Attymass at the local Sionnach Rua (The Red Fox) Pub to thank Gerry Lavelle the owner of the pub for his help in part sponsoring the accommodation for the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band.
Finally on Wednesday 9 August the group took over the streets of Westport with a Parade and a final sold out seisiun at the world famous Matt Molloys.