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Damian O'Rourke:

Shannon summer music festival to return…in winter

Champion Chatter

THE Wings music festival was a big hit in Shannon this summer, and plans are in train to have another one in 2023 – but this time it will be a winter event.

Damian O’Rourke was behind this summer’s event, which went down very well and he explained the thinking behind the reboot.

“After Wings, a few of us met to see what had worked well, what could we do better for next year. After that I started thinking about it being on in the summer, and with there being so much else on in the summer, it might be better as a winter festival.

“We decided to go with the last Monday to Sunday in February, the 21st to the 26th. There is a lot on in the summer and in Shannon the gigs are mainly indoors, so if there’s a spell of sunny weather it can be harder to get people to come. In February it’ll be dark early and people might be looking for something to come to in the evenings.”

He said that organisers want to keep it quite like what they had in June.

“We’ve had a couple of meetings, a few of us, and we’ve been throwing out ideas. It’ll be a similar format to this year, an open session on the Monday, an open session on the closing Sunday, then it’ll be gigs from Tuesday to Saturday.

“There’ll be Youth In Music and intimate gigs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday we’ll be looking to pick it up a gear. On the Saturday we’ll have the main gig in the Shannon Springs Hotel. 

“One of the main focuses will be a family day on the Saturday afternoon, there’ll be things like drumming workshops and songwriting workshops, there’ll probably be Rogú, they’re the crew who do juggling with fire and things like that. There’ll also be a kiddies disco that afternoon.”

The Sixmilebridge Winter Music Festival has been a success over many years, and he wants to emulate it.

“I was delighted with the first festival, the support was great from the people of Shannon who came out, and the feedback afterwards was brilliant. I had always hoped to make it an annual thing, it had been in my head to do it in the summer, but one of my favourite festivals is the one in Sixmilebridge, which runs at the end of January.

“Why not go along that line of thinking and have a winter festival? The fact is that our gigs are indoors, and people would be more likely to come to indoor gigs at the end of February compared to the summer.”

Damian is really hopeful that the festival’s approach of promoting local musicians will stand to it.

“It’s something I’d like to still be here in 100 years time. When we’re all long gone I want it to still be going. The emphasis will really be on community and local musicians close to Shannon and Clare. Down the line it’d be great to bring in big names at some stage, but the main focus of this is what we have around us.”

Anyone interested in providing sponsorship for the 2023 festival or would like to help with running it is asked to email 

Owen Ryan
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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.

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.