Newcastle West ready to rock with the return of ‘WestFest’

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

SUPERSTAR bands, gourmet food and a pack of high-speed asses will decorate the triumphant return of the Knights of WestFest summer festival in Newcastle West next month.

SUPERSTAR bands, gourmet food and a pack of high-speed asses will decorate the triumphant return of the Knights of WestFest summer festival in Newcastle West next month.

Following on from its overwhelming inaugural success last year, the five-day fiesta of music, food and entertainment is once again expected to attract thousands of visitors of tens of thousands of euros into the county town from September 12 to 16.

The centre piece of the festival will once again be a specially-erected ‘gig rig’ in front of the picturesque back drop of the Desmond Castle, which will this year play host to The Saw Doctors and The High Kings.

This year will also see the return of the high-octane donkey derby which attracted over 5,000 spectators last year, and will this time be MC’d by comedy singer Richie Kavanagh.

Siobhan Kelly, a member of the Knights of WestFest organising committee, said that they are planning to make this year’s event bigger and better than 2011. “We’re delighted to be bringing some huge stars from the Irish music scene down to Newcastle West for the weekend”.

A new addition to this year’s festival will be the ‘Taste of WestFest’ open air food fair, which will be held at the Newcastle West GAA grounds in the Castle Demesne on September 15 and 16. Ross Lewis, the Michelin star chef of the famed Chapter One restaurant in Dublin, will provide cookery demonstrations alongside Newcastle West native and head chef at the Strand Hotel in Limerick, Tom Flavin.

The Knights of WestFest is the spiritual heir to the old ‘Knights of Desmond’ summer festival which was held annually in Newcastle West until the mid 1990s.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday September 12 with a fashion and business showcase at the Courtenay Lodge Hotel, which will be MC’d by Richard Lynch of ‘I Love Limerick’ fame. Covers band ‘Bluemoose’ will start off the music on Thursday night, while on Friday night Hector O’hEochagain of RTE 2FM will MC the start of the Knight of Desmond competition. Michael O’Brien, Ireland’s fastest accordion player and a returning act from last year, will also perform on Friday night.

One of Ireland’s most celebrated and enduring bands, The Saw Doctors, will headline on Saturday night, with international trad superstars The High Kings bringing the festival to a close on Sunday. A family fun day will take place in the Demesne from 2pm on Sunday, September 16, featuring a reptile zoo, teddy bear’s picnic and more.

Visitors will be asked to pay a small €5 fee for adults and teens, which will allow access to every event. For more information, log on to the Knights of WestFest’s dedicated Facebook page.