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Folk column: Roots manoeuvres
Now in its tenth year, the Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival continues to attract the finest trad and folk performers around.
Greg McAteer, 25 Apr 2007
One of the first of the international festivals to announce its line-up for this summer is Cambridge, which runs from Thursday July 26 until Sunday July 29. The continuing support of the BBC and the local authority means that the bill they’ve been able to put together is a fantastic mix of stellar names and interesting new faces, with more than a handful of bands on the up.
As usual, some bands will be playing on a couple of days during the festival for those who can‘t make it for the whole bash, though at under £100 for a full four day ticket it would be well worth trying to catch the whole thing. The festival kicks off with an unplugged set from the Alabama 3, which should make for an interesting experience given that the central plank of their musical approach has been the ‘plugging in’ of acoustic music. Seasick Steve, who has played at Belfast’s Open House festival on a couple of occasions, will also be performing on the opening night.
By Friday the stakes begin to raise and this is your opportunity to catch big guns such as Steve Earle and Clifton Chenier (famously name-checked on Paul Simon’s Graceland album). Friday’s line-up also includes Sharon Shannon, The Waterboys, Oysterband, Bruce Cockburn, Allison Moorer, Show of Hands and Under One Sky.
Saturday is perhaps the strongest day of the festival and continues the mix of Americana and Brit-Folk with slots for Joan Baez, Kate Rusby and Toots And The Maytals, with Solas, Four Men And A Dog, Shooglenifty, Fiddlers’ Bid, Haugaard And Hoirup and Rachel Unthank and the Winterset also on the bill.
Things wind down on Sunday with Nanci Griffith, Ricky Skaggs and Toumani Diabate with his Symmetric Orchestra and repeat performances from a number of the acts who will have played on previous days.
With ‘Be Good Or Be Gone’ riding high in the airplay charts, Fionn Regan takes off on a tilt round the country. He has been polishing his stage presence with some support slots with Damien Rice. and he’ll be ushering Ann Scott through the revolving door of karma as she takes to the stage before him on this tour, which sets off from CrawDaddy on the April 20 and makes a previously unscheduled stop in Whelans on April 21, where an extra Dublin date has been pencilled in due to demand. They’ll be in Belfast on Sunday 22 at the Empire, An Grianan Letterkenny on Wednesday April 25, The Traveller’s Friend in Castlebar on Thursday April 26, Galway’s Roisin Dubh on Friday April 27 and in Dolan’s of Limerick the Saturday April 28 before heading south to the Savoy in Cork to finish out the tour.