Let the music play: Great free events across Cork in August

Here we highlight free outdoor performances as part of the Cork CoCo Pops underway across the county of Cork throughout August  
Let the music play: Great free events across Cork in August

Scéalta Productions: Check out Fionn MacChauill.

THE Cork CoCo Pops, a series of more than 120 live outdoor performances provided by Cork County Council with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s Local Live Performance Programming Scheme, is underway across the county throughout August and September.

It has the twin aims of supporting performers and entertainers who have been out of work during the lockdowns but also bringing live events to local communities in a safe environment.

Here is a selection of family-friendly events from the overall programme’s huge variety of styles and locations around County Cork that are free to attend during August.

Aine Duffy performs at Doneraile Arts Festival.
Aine Duffy performs at Doneraile Arts Festival.

Launching the programme, Mayor of County Cork, Councillor Gillian Coughlan, commented: “Cork CoCo Pops marks a very welcome return to live performance. It is a great boost to both performers, audiences and communities. It is wonderful to see live events in places you wouldn’t traditionally see them as well as The Cork Pops Orchestra entertaining residents outside care homes throughout the county. There truly is something for all ages and tastes.”

The Fresh Air Collective, made up of Edel Sullivan, Eileen Healy, Fintan Lucy and Ruti Lachs, focus on world folk traditions, including klezmer music, tangos, waltzes, original songs and gypsy-jazz. Ruti praised the overall Cork CoCo Pops project: “During the lockdown at times I wondered if I’d finished being a gigging musician, but now that we are back playing I realise entertaining the public is an important part of what I do - as is playing with other musicians. Listening to music, tapping our feet or dancing along, it’s what we as humans do.”

Code Of Behaviour will perform in Killeagh.
Code Of Behaviour will perform in Killeagh.

The Fresh Air Collective will be appearing in various parks, cafés, markets and beaches starting with Fountainstown Market (Sat August 14 - 10am); Rocky Bay Beach, near Minane Bridge (Fri August 27 - 3pm); Fermoy Town Park (Sat August 28 - 10am); The Workshop Café, Ballygarvan (Sat August 28 - 2pm); Mitchelstown Town Square (Sat September 4 - 3pm) and Roberts Cove Beach in Aghade (Sun September 5 - 3pm).

Aine Duffy, the Cork-born singer, songwriter, guitar player and performer, and her now-ubiquitous Duffbox will be coming to the people in her converted donkey box which is now a stage AND her camper van.

She will be featuring at the Doneraile Arts Festival with her virtuoso guitar riffs, energetic vocal range and accomplished, compelling songwriting. (Sun August 15 - 6pm)

The College Gardens in Youghal will be the setting for two different acts on a Monday evening when Fiárock, a quartet made up of Concertina, Bodhrán, Piano and Banjo who spent some of the lockdowns in “2 different continents, 3 different countries, and 3 different time zones!” will be bringing their fresh take on Irish traditional music.

They will be joined on the evening by Rattle The Boards, a trio featuring Benny McCarthy on concertina, Pat Ryan on fiddle and banjo with John Nugent playing the guitar.

They have toured extensively internationally since the late 1990s and made waves with their appearance on The Late Late Show in 2003. (Mon August 16 - 7pm)

The picturesque Bowling Green Lawn which takes in the views of Kinsale Harbour will be the setting for afternoons of Chamber Music from violinist Marja Gaynor and violist Tara McCarthy, with attendees encouraged to bring picnics. (Sat August 21 & 28 - 1pm).

Long Way Home: Play in Fermoy.
Long Way Home: Play in Fermoy.

The following day in the same setting Karl Nesbitt, the acclaimed flute player, will be bringing his ‘low amplified’ trio to perform a set of modern traditional music. (Sun August 22 - 1pm).

An acoustic duo on offer are Long Way Home, Kylie Anderson and Owen Schinkel, two bluegrass musicians originally from the USA and the Netherlands who will be in Fermoy Town Park (Sat August 21 - 3pm) and The Lawn at Castletownroche Mill (Sun August 22 - 3pm).

That same Sunday, something more high octane on will occur in The Greywood Arts Centre in Killeagh, when they host the seven-piece brass band Code Of Behaviour as part of their Music In The Meadow series. who will be bringing their trumpets, trombones, mellophone, saxophone, sousaphone and drums mixed with their wide repertoire from 80s classics to modern pop hits. (Sun August 22 - 1pm)

The Hifilutin Flute Quartet whose instrument line up covers all the flute family, from the tiny piccolo to the contrabass flute playing melodies, and will be serenading those who are strolling around the park soundtracked by musicals and film themes, as well as original compositions and arrangements of popular classics in Fermoy Town Park (Sun August 22 - 2pm) and Carrigaline Community Park (Sun August 29 - 2pm)

Cork Pops Orchestra: Live performances.
Cork Pops Orchestra: Live performances.

While music is the main element of the Cork CoCo Pops, there are other threads such as folklore provided by Scéalta Productions who will be retelling the story of Fionn MacChauill - and many other characters — on his journey from an ordinary boy to the extraordinary mythical warrior in Doneraile Park (Sat August 28 - 1pm and 3pm).

Also, The Fairy Gardens in Macroom will be celebrating Irish Culture bilingually with a mixture of poetry and traditional music with Glór Binn (Sun August 22 - 2pm)

Finally one of the most intriguing performance areas will be in the Priory Court Estate in Watergrasshill by Aoife Scott, who was voted The Folk Artist Of The Year in The Irish Post Awards, and released her second album ‘Homebird’ last year. (Sat August 28 - 4pm)

Aoife Scott: Performs in Watergrasshill.
Aoife Scott: Performs in Watergrasshill.

Cork County Council is encouraging everyone to enjoy the performances but attendees are asked to adhere to public health guidelines, to maintain social distancing and to remain in their pods for their own safety and for the safety of others. 

Further details on the programme can be viewed here

Ticketed gigs throughout the county are also on offer featuring performances by Hank Wedel, Mick Flannery, Emma Langford and many more.

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