SOME of the world’s best-known bluegrass bands will take part in the 20th Annual Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park next weekend.
From September 2-4 the museum near Omagh will host bands including headline act Dailey and Vincent, the Malpass Brothers, Footworks Appalachian Clog Dancers and The Turtle Duhks.
The Bluegrass Music Festival has grown to become the largest festival of its kind outside North America and has won accolades including ‘Event of the Year’ at the Northern Ireland Tourist Board awards.
Last year around 10,000 visitors flocked to the Ulster American Folk Park over the festival weekend. This year five stages of music and three evening concerts will take place at both open and covered locations.
Richard Hurst, Visitor Services Manager at the Ulster American Folk Park, said: “In the past 20 years we have seen the Bluegrass Festival go from strength to strength and in that time we have welcomed over 100,000 visitors and 1,200 musicians. The festival is now well established as one of the most important annual leisure and tourism events in the west of the Province.
“We are thrilled to have Dailey and Vincent, currently the biggest bluegrass band in the world, as headline act for this landmark year. It’s a real coup to have them here as it’s the only venue they will play in the UK or Ireland this year.
“Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent have become the most heralded new bluegrass act in the last few years, taking home seven awards at the 2008 International Bluegrass Music Awards Show including ‘Entertainer of the Year’ and ‘Album of the Year’. For the last two years they have been voted ‘Entertainers of the Year’ and ‘Vocal Group of the Year’ - nominated in both categories again this year.
“We are looking forward to their performance on Saturday night and to their Sunday night ‘Spirit of Bluegrass’ gospel concert with the Malpass Brothers which is always a wonderful event.
“With 14 acts from all over the world, we’re expecting an electric atmosphere throughout the museum all weekend!”
Local talent will also feature with the Broken String Band, Northern Exposure and the Dirty Blues Band in the line up while Irish acts include the Niall Toner Band and the BanjaBill All Stars. Other highlights include Sunnyside from the Czech Republic and Italian band Red Wine.
A varied and fun-filled programme of events will take place over the Bluegrass Festival weekend including instrument workshops and talks, a photographic competition and a Bluegrass Camp for children.
For more information go to www.nmni.com/bluegrass