Bluegrass musicians blaze a trail to Bruff

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

THE WIRETAPPERS, an acoustic string band from Seattle, will headline this weekend’s Bluegrass festival in Bruff.

THE WIRETAPPERS, an acoustic string band from Seattle, will headline this weekend’s Bluegrass festival in Bruff.

Now in its third year, the festival, which runs over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will feature the best authentic Bluegrass musicians from both home and abroad.

“There are one or two other bluegrass music festivals but they have a little authentic Bluegrass and it is diluted with folk and country and western. We host only the best authentic Bluegrass,” said Jack Clancy, proprietor of Clancy’s Bar in Bruff who is one of the organisers of the festival. The festival ‘picks’ off on Friday evening at 8pm with music in all the pubs; admission is free to all venues. “There will be session picking on the street as well,” explained Michael Hehir, festival coordinator.

“In the Bluegrass terminology when a few of the musicians get together they refer to that as picking,” he added. Michael, who operates the Bruff Bluegrass blog site, was instrumental in bringing the Wiretappers from Seattle to the Bruff festival. “That is the first time that we have been able to bring in an American band. Because of the blog site and so forth I generally get the contact information with regard to any bands that are interested,” he said.

A highlight of the festival is the Sunday morning ‘picking’ session which sees the musicians come together and play at a particular premises.

“That has become a tradition of the Sunday morning. It brings a lot of people - a good few followers come in camper vans. Over the last few years on a Sunday morning usually the bands who are in for the weekend, all come together and they will all start playing – there can be anything between 15 and 20 musicians,” said Michael.

The popularity of Bluegrass music in Bruff, according to Michael, stems from its blend of Irish country and general folk which makes for easy listening. “It’s a blend between Irish county and general folk – it came from the early emigrants who would have went from this side of the world to America. You have banjos, guitars and mandolins. The musicians will be playing in a relaxed atmosphere - they are playing inside the doors not up on a stage,” he explained. A unique feature of the Bruff festival will be the free workshops throughout the weekend for all aspiring musicians.

Away from the music there will be other activities for all the family including a donkey derby and pig roasts. For more information log onto www.bruffbluegrass.blogspot.com