Preparations continue for the annual Longford Summer Festival, which will kick off on Thursday week in Longford town. It will mark the start of nine great evenings of free live music on the town's main streets.
The action gets under way on Thursday, July 4, on Main Street with Ireland's favourite country music star, Michael English. He will be supported by local act, Brendan Kelly and band.
Music will be on Main Street or Ballymahon Street alternative nights from 7pm to 11pm with the exception of the final Sunday, July 14, which is ‘family day’ and the music will run from 2pm through to 10pm.
The Festival returned to the main streets three years ago and has run without incident thanks to the involvement of the local Gardaí and leading security company, Gilmore Security.
Gardaí, security and volunteer stewards are very visible throughout as the festival builds on its reputation as an event for all the family.
This will be the third year that the festival is back on the streets of Longford and festival chairperson, Joe Flaherty, said the organisers are committed to returning the festival back to when it was the biggest in the midlands.
He said: “Back in the 1980s and ‘90s, the festival ran over two weeks and attracted some of the biggest Irish and international acts.”
As the organisers move back in that direction, they paid tribute to Longford County Council, LCDC and the LEADER (Rural Development) programme, who are generously funding the event.
“This year's festival is supported by the LEADER programme and want to pay tribute and acknowledge the support and guidance that we have received from Adrian Greene and the LEADER team,” said Joe Flaherty.
“We want especially to acknowledge project worker, Margaret Walsh. She went above and beyond the call of duty to assist us and it was greatly appreciated.
“I know that they are working with other groups and festivals as well and we would encourage all to engage with the LEADER staff as ultimately it will assist and improve the range of events and festivals we get to stage locally.”
Joe Flaherty said the festival is a great opportunity to showcase Longford in a positive light and “thanks to the support and guidance of the LEADER programme, we have been able to build a four day event into nine evenings of great live music and arguably one of the biggest free music events in the country this summer.”
Back to the music, and rising star Cliona O'Hagan takes to the stage on Friday, July 5, as will tribute band, The Spirit of Smokie.
Saturday, July 6 will see another top tribute band with The Garth Brooks Experience up first and then rising Irish star, Ryan Sheridan.
Coming back to the festival for the third year in a row is Jake Carter and he plays Sunday, July 7, along with Donegal favourites Goats Don't Shave.
There's a break in the action then for a few days and it will return on Wednesday, July 10, with crowd pleasers Aslan on Ballymahon Street from 7pm to 11pm.
The festival goes country again on Thursday, July 11, with Mike Denver whilst Friday, July 12, will see firm favourites Bagatelle rocking Ballymahon Street.
Arguably the big night of the festival will be Saturday, July 13 and it's back on Main Street for the brilliant The Stunning and rising Irish band, State Lights, which features Granard's Joe Regan.
As mentioned earlier, the final day is Sunday, July 14 with music from 2pm through to 10pm and plenty of great activities and attractions for children.
The headline music acts for the final evening will be The High Kings and firm Longford favourites, the Dublin City Ramblers.