O’Carolan summer school and traditional music festival

The O’Carolan Harp and Traditional Music Festival, Keadue, Co. Roscommon, now in its 29th year, has established itself over the years as one of Ireland’s leading musical events.             The 2007 Festival takes place during the August Bank Holiday weekend, from August 3rd to 6th, while the O’Carolan Summer School in traditional music, song and dance, precedes the festival and takes place from July 29th to August 4th.             Students attending the summer school can avail of workshops in harp, flute, tin whistle, fiddle, banjo, button accordion, piano accordion, uileann pipes, concertina, bodhrán, traditional singing, set dancing and sean nós dancing.             One of the highlights of the festival for people is the harp events and competitions. Harpers and traditional musicians from around the world descend on the picturesque village in north Roscommon for the festivities each year. The winner of the senior harp competition will receive a specially engraved crystal trophy and a cheque for €600.             Over the festival weekend there are concerts, music sessions, lectures, céilís and door dancing. The official opening of the festival takes place on August 5th and will be preceded by the festival parade which promises to surpass previous years with marching bands and other attractions.             Throughout the afternoon many local and visiting crafts people will be present to demonstrate their crafts and work, while at the same time harp recitals and traditional music sessions can be heard throughout the village.             Among the bands that have performed at the festival over the years include the Chieftains, Cathy Jordan, Altan, Martin Hayes, Mary Black, Maire Ni Chathasaigh and Chris Newman, Maura O’Connell, Frances Black, Delores Keane, Arcady, Shaskeen, Seamus Shannon and PJ Murrihy.             Marking of the festival has intensified over the years with inclusion of the activities on the internet with promotion by Fáilte Ireland and Ireland West and in music magazines throughout the world.             For further details on the O’Carolan Harp and Traditional Music Festival, contact www.ocarolanharpfestival.ie , email ocarolan@eircom.net and telephone (071) 96 47247.