… was really good, though a lot smaller festival than previous years. Apparently they are still prevented from using the large ball field; they only had two tracks of music, one in the SCC building and one in the tent on the small ball field. This wasn’t much of a hardship though, as the lineup was very strong, and we felt like we got our money’s worth. The crowd was a LOT smaller than in previous years – even smaller than last year – though it was composed almost entirely of dedicated music fans, so they made up in enthusiasm what they lacked in numbers. Musicianship was superb and the ones I talked to were enjoying the festival a lot, remarking on what a great crowd it was.
I got brief interviews with Martin Hayes, Roy Gullane, and two guys (Eamonn de Barra and Daire Bracken) from a relatively new Irish group called Slide. The latter were fantastic – extremely high-energy instrumentals, doing some really innovative arrangements with traditional materials and instruments. (Much like the Scottish group Lau is doing.)
Performances were almost uniformly terrific. La Musgana, Genticorum, Vishten, Slide, and the Tannahills all sounded like superstars. The Sunday closer with Hayes/Cahill/Vasen was lovely.
The Friday and Saturday evening concerts were good, though never developed into the kind of magical jam-session we’ve seen in other years. I thought the daytime shows were actually better. Still, remarkably high-quality entertainment!