HOPEFULLY the music will be the only thing giving people the blues at Cleary’s Bar in Newcastle West this weekend, where the pub’s annual Goat Street BluesFest will be coinciding with Ireland’s opening salvo in Euro 2012.
Fresh from the successes of themed weekends SkaFest and BeatlesFest, pub owner and music aficionado Seamus Cleary is turning his attentions back to the blues, jazz and soul sounds of the American South for the fourth year running.
From this Thursday music lovers from across West Limerick will be able to enjoy live performances and themed cocktails over four days.
This year, in order to avoid a potentially hazardous clash with Ireland’s opening fixture of Euro 2012 against Croatia on Sunday evening, the music will be put on hold for a few hours while customers enjoy a complimentary barbecue ahead of kick off at 7.45pm.
“This is the flagship event”, Mr Cleary said of BluesFest. “The thing about it is, at this stage people already know about it. They don’t have to ask what’s going on. After three years they know, particularly the younger crowd. It sells itself.”
True to form, BluesFest 2012 and its retinue of local music fans will enjoy a packed schedule of live performers across the weekend.
The weekend kicks off on Thursday, June 7 at 10pm with a performance by Cork-USA duo ‘Hank & Edel’.
The following night at 10.30pm Kerry band ‘Tuxedo Jazz’ will make their BluesFest debut, and look set to make an impression with their classy jazz-blues hybrid sound.
On Saturday night at 9.30pm another BluesFest debutant, Clare band ‘Ace Minsky’, will be performing. The weekend comes to a close from 5pm to 7.30pm on Sunday when Cork band ‘Floating Opera’ help build anticipation ahead of kick off between Ireland and Croatia at 7.45pm.
Mr Cleary said that while the organisers were initially worried that clashing with the European Championships would give them a headache, they have been able to tweak the line up to suit everybody.
“We always had two bands on the Sunday, but obviously we couldn’t do that this year because you’d be clashing with the Ireland match. Obviously there’d be only one winner there.
“We were worried about it at the start, but it’s actually working out. We’ll have the match on, and there’ll be a barbecue in between the matches.”
He added that while Cleary’s has become synonymous with music in Newcastle West and West Limerick, the real attraction will always be the performers.
“You can’t beat a bit of live music, real music. Four piece, five piece bands. There’s nothing like it”.
For more information on BluesFest, visit the event’s dedicated Facebook page.