The crème de la crème of Longford and Westmeath traditional music talent came out in their scores to support and add flavour to the inaugural Patsy Farrell Festival. From August 1 to August 8, young and old alike donned their instruments and came out to play.
“It was a huge success and there was standing room only for Foster & Allen at the Rustic Inn. We are grateful to them and to all who took part,” said Anna Kavanagh, festival secretary.
She added: “Musicians from across the two counties came out. The youngest was Nadine Smith from Edgeworthstown who played fiddle at the sessions in the Rustic Inn, the Mostrim Arms and the Bent Elbow.”
Many musicians who joined in the fun had not played in some time.
“They saw this as an opportunity to come out night after night and play again,” said Anna who also praised the various venues that hosted the sessions. “They provided finger food and refreshments free of charge for those who turned up.”
A major highlight of the festival was a CD launch by Doma Beo in the Bent Elbow, Drumlish. This group, which is made up of Laura and Liam Doherty and Maria Matthews, was formerly part of Ríl Óg.
“However the festival would not have been possible were it not for the generosity of the musicians. These included Packie Campbell, Tom Skelly, Sean Thompson, Sean Marshall, Noel Sweeney, Martin Donohoe, The Callaghan Family, the Smith Family, Noel Carberry, Bernie Kelly and the many other musicians who came out each night to entertain,” said Anna.
The festival committee also thanked Lisa Byrne and Longford Chamber of Commerce and Pearse Butler (Abbeyshrule).
“Our committee received no funding. It is hoped that next year, for the year of ‘The Gathering’, the festival will build on this year and become a successful tourist attraction,” said Anna.
Patsy Farrell’s partner, Mary Keary, told the Leader that the event was “brilliant”.
“There was a great turn-out of musicians and friends of Patsy,” said Mary, who had been Patsy’s partner for 13 years prior to his passing. “It was a moving occasion for us all.”
Patsy’s nephew, Hugh Farrell of Lisbrack, Longford, agreed.
“There were great crowds when I was out at it. We’d love to see it every year,” he said.
Further comments about the Patsy Farrell Festival are available on facebook.