Skibbereen Soul and Blues Fest makes welcome return

Legendary blues and soul singer Rob Strong is one of the headliners
Skibbereen Soul and Blues Fest makes welcome return

At 10pm on Friday night, legendary blues and soul singer Rob Strong takes to the stage of the Tanyard Bar with his band. Picture: Pat Moore

THE Skibbereen Soul and Blues Fest returns this weekend for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, and its organisers have promised a great line-up for the three-day event.

Alan Alcock, one of the festival’s organisers, said it would be great to be back after two years.

“We have a fantastic line-up for the weekend and all events are free, so it promises to be a brilliant weekend,” Mr Alcock said.

“The Skibbereen Soul and Blues Fest is going to be a high point of the summer, and we hope as many people as possible come along to enjoy the wealth of great music that’s on offer this weekend.

Mr Alcock said the festival could not take place without its sponsors, adding that it was hoped this year’s event would be the best so far.

“It looks like we’ll be blessed with the weather, so Skibb’ is the place to be for all your blues and soul needs this weekend,” he said.

The festival kicks off at 7.30pm in the Corner Bar with the Dizzy Blues Band, which was formed in 1989 and became a cornerstone of the Lee Delta Blues Club.

At 10pm on Friday night, legendary blues and soul singer Rob Strong takes to the stage of the Tanyard Bar with his band.

Barry Devlin of Horslips once said of Rob Strong, a man famed for his powerful voice: “He really doesn’t need amplification – the voice would carry down a hall alone”.

In a long and glittering career, Strong has had many highlights, not least of which was serving as voice coach to his son Andrew and other singers in the 1991 Alan Parker film The Commitments.

On Saturday, seven-piece groove masters Soul Driven play the New Square on the bridge at lunchtime, and from 10pm at the Eldon Hotel, blasting out brass-infused soul, funk, jazz and blues.

Cork soul/swing quintet the Runaway Retros play the Horse and Hound at 8.30pm on Saturday, and the Tanyard at 7.30pm on Sunday.

IRMA award nominee Fiona Kennedy is in Annie May’s Pub with her band at 8.30pm on Saturday.

 The Metropole Hotel, Cork celebrated its 123rd birthday on Sunday afternoon with singer-songwriter Fiona Kennedy entertaining outside the hotel.  Picture Dan Linehan
The Metropole Hotel, Cork celebrated its 123rd birthday on Sunday afternoon with singer-songwriter Fiona Kennedy entertaining outside the hotel.  Picture Dan Linehan

Dr Feelgood and the Electric Mayhem Band are in the Corner Bar at 5pm on Sunday, offering an eclectic mix of funk, souls and R&B rock.

Beginning their set at 9pm on Sunday in the Corner Bar, multi-talented singers and musicians Marybeth, Eve and Emily bring the festival to a spellbinding close.

The full festival programme is available on the Skibbereen Soul and Blues Fest page on Facebook.

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