Cairncastle Ulster Scots Festival ready to hit a musical high note

The Blue Stack Mountain Boys will be among the performers at this year's Cairncastle Ulster Scots Festival.
The Blue Stack Mountain Boys will be among the performers at this year's Cairncastle Ulster Scots Festival.

International bands playing a mixture of Irish, Scottish, Country and Bluegrass music will be among the noteworthy line-up of performance talent at the 2017 Cairncastle Ulster Scots Bluegrass & Folk cross community Festival.

Being held at the Halfway House Hotel, Ballygally, the Festival will feature Musical Bus Tours on Wednesday, July 19; cultural evenings on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 25 and 26; musical evenings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 27-29; workshops on the afternoons of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 27-29; and, a non-denominational Ulster Scots praise service in Cairncastle Presbyterian Church Hall on Sunday, July 30, at 3pm.

The musical evenings will get underway in the hotel on July 27 with bluegrass featuring the cream of Bluegrass Bands including Blue Stack Mountain Boys from Dublin and the Prairie Jaywalkers from Cork.

July 28 will bring an evening of folk music to fans featuring the Stonewall folk band from Co. Armagh playing traditional Scottish music and songs and Willie Drennan’s Ulster Scots Band.

A Soirée of Scottish, Country & Irish will round off the musical evenings on July 29 featuring over 20 musicians with an International flavour, including Stewart Buchanan, accordionist and trained Baritone singer from Co Donegal; the Islanders – three fiddlers from Carrickfergus; John Burns, accordionist and country singer; Richard Findlay, accordionist and country singer; and, country singer Michael McSparron from Carnlough. Each evening starts at 7.30pm and admission is £10.

Free workshops start on July 27 with Keyboard Playing at 1pm and History of Bluegrass music commences at 3pm and continue on July 28 at 1pm with a Bagpipes workshop demonstrating various parts of manufacture with emphasis on drone reeds how to fit them and get them tuned etc.), followed at 3pm by Ulster Scots & Irish languages. There will also be a workshop on July 29 at 1pm on the Accordion focusing on how tunes differ when played on the accordion in various parts of Ireland and a workshop on Irish Ulster-Scots history which will cover the battle of Passchendaele in summer 1917.

Cultural evenings start on July 25 in Cairncastle Presbyterian Church Hall with a mixture of old Time, Sequence and Scottish dancing. Admission £4. A free music and dance display will be held on July 26 featuring The Grouse Beaters and a dance display of Scottish Country, Irish, Scottish Highland, Indian, Polish and Mexican dancers. Both events start at 7.30pm. For more details on any events email or call 07810294638.