Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival 2020 Going All Virtual

Presenter and festival founding member, Peter Browne (left) pictured with Maida Sugure, Martin O’Connor and Paddy Jones RIP before their interviews on the opening night of the 2019 Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival at the River Island Hotel in Castleisland. ©Photograph: John Reidy 25-10-2019

One of Castleisland’s big, end-of-year events which had been in doubt for some time now due to the evolving Covid-19 situation, has been diverted off the streets and out of the pubs to an online presence this year.

The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival Committee Chairman Cormac O’Mahony confirmed today that the event would have an online presence for classes and whatever else could be facilitated in this way.

Held Tough for as Long as we Could

“We held tough for as long as we could but the reality is that we couldn’t hold events in public or in public houses and hope to control musicians and people starved of music and sessions for the past six months,” he said.

“We got advice from several sound sources and this decision, which we delayed making for as long as we could, was the only option left open to us.

“It’s a pity but that’s the state we’re all in now and we couldn’t be responsible for the consequences of bringing a crowd of people to town over that weekend,” he said.

Music Liaison Officer

The festival’s music liaison officer, Patsy O’Donoghue said that the music of the Sliabh Luachra area would be well out there over what he called ‘a virtual, virtual, virtual weekend’ when the music, song and poetry of the area would be celebrated on-line and in accordance with government health guidelines.

“Plans are well in hand and we’ll have a brochure and an events menu with a tribute to the late Paddy Jones as a centre-piece – as we would if things were running normally this year,” said Patsy.

Founded in October 1993

The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival was founded in the late autumn of 1993 and has had an uninterrupted run every year up to this one.

It’s an event hallmarked by packed public houses and hordes of musicians from all over the world filling bed and breakfast houses over the October bank holiday weekend.

While the event and the music of the area will be marked with an on-line presence, the meeting and greeting of old friends and the welcoming of new faces will have to wait until brighter days and years to come.

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