Folk and rock legends play Rory Gallagher Festival

Rory Gallagher

This year’s Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival has attracted some legendary performers from both folk and rock music.

Irish band Horslips will be the headline act on a bill that also includes Bryan Robertson, formerly with Irish rock band Thin Lizzy and Motorhead. He’ll be performing with the Eamonn McCormack Band.

Mick Tayor, the former guitarist with the Rolling Stones, will be appearing with his Rhythm ‘n Blues Band.

The English rock band Dr Feelgood will also be appearing at the festival which is being held at Ballyshannon in Donegal, the town where Gallagher was born on 2nd March, 1948. Donegal’s Johnny Gallagher and Boxtie will also be there.

Ireland’s greatest rock and blues guitarist

Rory Gallagher is widely regarded Ireland’s greatest ever rock and blues guitarist. He was largely self-taught and started playing professionally while still a teenager.

Jim Lockhart from Horslips said: “We knew Rory very well and we are honoured to be going home to his hometown of birth to celebrate great rock music. Donegal is a spiritual home to Horslips, so returning after many years and doing it for Rory in Ballyshannon is going to be classic”.

Barry Devlin from Horslips said: “I have been to the Rory Gallagher Festival in Ballyshannon on three occasions and I absolutely love the vibe, the international visitors and for us to play in honour of Rory, its going to be brilliant. The Big Top in Ballyshannon on the 3rd June is going to be magical for Horslips”.

Did you know Rory Gallagher?

Pat McManus, of the Mama’s Boys, is also appearing at the festival. He said: “When I travel the world the one question I get asked is, ‘did you know Rory Gallagher’? I am proud to have known and played with him. He was the first real rock star and the greatest rock act to ever come out of Ireland.”

Among the acts appearing are renowned UK Blues Guitarist, Larry Miller and his band, Dutch band Laundromat, Sinnerboy, Shinkicker, Glasgow band Against the Grain, and local rockers Moonchild and The Skins.

The festival is being held at Ballyshannon from 31 May to 3 June.

Gallagher was born in Ballyshannon but was raised in Cork. He died in 1995 of liver failure at the age of 47.

He found international acclaim with his first band Taste before going on to enjoy a highly successful solo career as a blues/rock guitarist of breathtaking skill and inventiveness.

Although primarily a rock performer, he also played several Irish folk tunes including a wonderful acoustic instrumental version of She Moved Through the Fair.

By Patrick Kehoe

Pat Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily. His favourite Irish music bands are the Dubliners and Planxty.