Midwest start countdown to Mayo Manchester Tradfest in Ballina

It seemed appropriate that Midwest presenter Paul Claffey and Advertising Executive Audrey Duffy should start the countdown to the fifth annual Mayo Manchester Tradfest in Ballina on Heritage Day, Wednesday 12 July. With over 50,000 jamming the streets on Ballina, Tony Hennigan from Mayo Manchester managed to make his way to Midwest Radio to officially begin the countdown to the 6 Day Traditional Irish Music, Song and Dance Festival which with over 100 events is being described in the media as one of Ireland's biggest Tradfest's'.

As well as the press launch in Ballina, a series of simultaneous events were started in Manchester at Media City with one of the stars of the BBC TV series The Voice - Joe Keegan and the six hubs in Attymass, Ballina, Bonniconlon, Castlebar, Foxford and Westport. Commenting on the world-wind promotion of the event, Tony Hennigan from Mayo Manchester commented "We have had a great welcome from all of our 6 Hubs, we always feel like we are coming home when we visit Mayo, the festival has been running very successfully in North Mayo for the last five years, but we have had numerous requests to take it to Castlebar and Westport. So this year we are including them both in the line up for the week long festival, the venues are really excited about being involved. It was lovely to start the countdown in Mayo's oldest Music Store - Collins Music Store in Castlebar and Matt Molloys in Westport even brought in a horse and carriage, I think I might need a holiday to recover after the festival but everyone is really looking forward to it."

Midwest Radio, Ireland's most listened to regional programme will launch this year’s 2017 Mayo Manchester Tradfest on Thursday 3 August with a two hour live broadcast at the Fr Peyton Centre in Attymass from 6pm to 8pm. Listeners can tune into the launch on 96.1fm in Mayo and online around the globe at http://midwestradio.ie/index.php/new-listen .The festival with over 100 events has been billed by the media as one of Irelands biggest celebrations of Traditional Irish Music, Song and Dance.

The free admission VIP party in Attymass which has just been nominated to represent Mayo in Ireland’s Pride of Place Awards, will see a host of special guests join the performers taking part in the week-long festival which is expected to attract over 50,000 people to Mayo. The award winning festival is now in its fifth year and features six action-packed days and nights of traditional Irish Music, Song and Dance.The launch is open to the public and is free admission, Irish musicians, singers and dancers are welcome to come down and join in the party."

This year the festival reached the Finals of the 2017 Tourism Ireland Industry awards for festivals attracting over 50,000 visitors and is already the recipient of the Tourism Ireland Gathering of the Year and The International Mayo Peoples Award.

The top ten main Festival Highlights include:
1. Thursday 3 August, 6pm-8pm, Attymass
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.

2. Friday 4 August, 8pm-10pm, Ballina
The groups Irish Pipers, Musicians and Dancers will be staging a Tradfest trail in Ballina from 8pm-10pm which will be calling 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.

3. Saturday 5 August, 12 noon, 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.

4. Saturday 5 August, 7.30pm, Ballina
The Voice of Old Trafford, Mr Alan Keegan from Manchester United Football club is flying over from premiership clubs 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.

5. Sunday 6 August, 2pm, Foxford
The festival visit the Mayofly Hotel Foxford for a free afternoon session and refreshments.

6. Sunday 6 August, 8pm, Attymass
MMTradfest will be joining 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 at the venue and visitors are advised to purchase their tickets in advance from Padraic Walsh at the Fr Peyton Centre on +353 96 45374 or visit the website at www.fatherpeytoncentre.ie . This event has been kindly sponsored by Rosgal Civil Engineering, Manchester.

7. Monday 7 August, 12 noon, Bonniconlon
The Tradfest will be making a brief appearance at the Bonniconlon Show to officially launch the event.

8. Monday 7 August, 7.30pm, 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.
Tickets for the historic show are priced at just €15 Tel +353 98 28459 or visit the Theatre website www.westporttheatre.com

9. Tuesday 8 August, 9pm, 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 accomdation for the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band.

10. Wednesday 9 August, 9pm, Westport
The Festival is brought to a close in Westport’s at the legendary Matt Molloys Music venue with a special Trad session on Wednesday 9 August.

For full festival listings visit www.mayomanchester.com/events