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Sarah Griffin with her one-year-old daughter Freya having a great time at the Shannon Summer Music Festival. Photographs by Eugene McCafferty

GALLERY: Shannon set to party again after first festival finishes


LIVE entertainment is back and the Shannon Summer Music Festival took place in the Town Park on Saturday, offering entertainment to young and old throughout the day.

Organiser Chris Walshe was happy with the event, despite some less than ideal weather.

“It was great, despite the weather we still had a good turnout. We had a very good turnout early in the day for the children’s entertainment, we had face painting, balloon modellers and the kiddie’s discos. We got a bad bout of rain for an hour or two, but people drifted back then for the live music.

“For a finish we probably had 150 and 200 out in the Park. Everyone was there enjoyed it, the musicians were delighted and it was nice to have the opportunity to have a big production like that in Shannon and to show off the Park as a venue.”

It featured a number of local musicians and he said the day was the culmination of months of preparations.

“There would have been two or three months of planning. Firstly putting the proposal into the Arts Office for the idea, I had a good bit of help from the Arts Office in getting it over the line.

“Once we were approved for that it was a case of dealing with the Municipal District Office here in Shannon and drawing up an event plan, making sure we had all the boxes ticked before we could go ahead.

“There were a couple of months of planning it, a lot of people involved in the background, things like the Order of Malta, the County Council, the Gardai, the Fire Service, we had help from the Town Centre as well. Obviously all of our production crew, stewards, entertainers, performers. There was a bit in it.”

He would like to repeat it in the summer of 2023.

“I’d like to, if we’re able to and there’s funding available, I’d definitely like to look at the possibility of doing it again.

“To be fair we couldn’t have had that event without the support of the Department of Tourism and Culture and the Arts Office. We got  a grant that came through the Local Live Performance Scheme and without that it just wouldn’t have happened.”

Of course it isn’t the end of the summer entertainment, with the Wings Festival, organised by Damian O’Rourke, set to run from June 20-26, across a number of local venues.

Damian says that almost all the arrangements have been made at this stage.

“There’s always something to do, but the bones of it is there now, we have the musicians lined up, the venues lined up.”

It all gets underway on Monday.

“We’ll be kicking off on the Monday night with a session down in the Shannon Springs Hotel pool room. We’ll be gathering local musicians, there’s a group called A Bunch of Folkers who play every second week and they’ll host most of the evening.

“Anyone who wants to come and sing a song or just listen is more than welcome and that’ll kick off the week.”

There are stages being set up in the Town Centre where there will be gigs on the Tuesday and Thursday.

“One will be called the Swive stage, Swive was a friend of mine who passed away a few years ago and he’d have taught a lot of young people guitar. So I’m naming a stage after him and then we’ll have the Pat Costello stage.

“Pat lived in Shannon for many years as well and would have passed away at the beginning of the pandemic. He was a big musical influence in the town.”
Hope Cafe will be the venue for Wednesday’s entertainment.

“We’ll have a young person from the town will be doing a bit of poetry, spoken word, and then Mews Productions will give a theatrical piece, which will last about an hour. We’re trying to include all the creative heads in the town and get a good vibe going.”

There will be plenty on offer over the weekend.

“On Friday we’re looking at putting a stage in the Square in the Town Centre and having some local musicians playing there.

“On Saturday we’re going to have a gig in the Leisure Centre.

“We had one there for Ukraine a few months ago, it worked out very well, sounded great and there was a nice vibe, so we’ll be back there for the Saturday night.

“We’re going to have Luka Bloom, Cyril O’Donoghue and Mickey Dunne as well. That’ll be kind of the main gig and Sunday we’ll have a wind down session, we’ll be back in the Shannon Springs Hotel pool room, we’ll get Bunch of Folkers to sing songs and have the craic really.”

He is delighted that the long-considered festival is almost set to go.

“It’s something I’ve thought about for years and with the funding for the Council I’ve been able to put it into action. It’s not that far away, when the process started it seemed far off, but now we’re right up to it.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.