THE BANNERS are up, the stage is set and bands are on the way. This weekend, Newcastle West will be transformed as the Knights of WestFest festival is set to attract thousands of visitors with a weekend of live music and entertainment.
Following on from the spectacular success of last yearâ€™s inaugural WestFest event, this yearâ€™s re-branded festival features a bigger and better line up which will be headlined by international music superstars The Saw Doctors and The High Kings.
This year also marks the start of what organisers hope will become a major attraction in its own right â€“ the two-day â€˜Taste of WestFestâ€™ food fair in the Castle Demesne, which will feature dozens of artisan exhibitors and some of Irelandâ€™s top chefs.
Gearoid Whelan, a member of the organising committee, said that they are looking ahead to an action packed weekend.
â€œThe experience of last year will stand to us. Weâ€™ll be ready for any hitches. Itâ€™s all goâ€.
Entry to all of this yearâ€™s events will be by way of special WestFest wristbands which have been on sale across the town for â‚¬5 for adults and â‚¬3 for children. â€œWeâ€™ve sold a good few already. But we reckon the majority of them will be sold on Saturday and Sunday. Theyâ€™re available 24/7 across the townâ€, Mr Whelan said.
The festival started last night with a fashion and business showcase at the Courtenay Lodge Hotel, while tonight will see the launch of the festival proper with a barmanâ€™s race in the town square, followed by a performance from cover band â€˜Bluemooseâ€™ from 9pm.
Friday night will see the return of the Knights of Desmond competition, with the entrants being introduced on stage from 7pm by comedian Alan Shortt of â€˜Bull Islandâ€™ fame.
The Taste of WestFest food fair runs at the local GAA grounds from 10am on Saturday and Sunday, while The Saw Doctors will be performing in the square from 9pm on Saturday.
The final day of the festival begins on Sunday with a donkey derby in the Demesne at 4.30pm, along with a performance from Richie Kavanagh.
The curtain will come down on Sunday night when The High Kings perform on the main stage.
For full information, visit the Knights of WestFestâ€™s Facebook page.