Bob Dylan v The Beatles – Ireland v England
Derry and Donegal will be putting on a major festival of Bob Dylan music between August 23rd and 27th. This coincides with Beatles Week in Liverpool where 800,000 visitors flock to hear the songs of the Fab Four. Bob Dylan and The Beatles are arguably the top two acts from the Sixties era. Beatles Week has been running for over 30 years.
The small picturesque town of Moville on the banks of the salmon fishing Lough Foyle has been running a highly successful festival of Bob Dylan music since 2007. Now, for the first time, the organisers have decided to expand the festival outside of Moville. The main expansion is to Derry just 17 miles up the road from Moville. Derry has a population of 100,000 compared to Moville’s 1,500.
DylanFest in Derry
Said organiser Gerry McLaughlin, “I had been thinking of involving Derry in the DylanFest previously. I saw the former Mayor of Derry and current SDLP leader, Colm Eastwood, amongst the Friends of DylanFest Moville on Facebook so I messaged him and asked if was interested in having it in Derry too. It seems he was at the Moville DylanFest and he was indeed interested in having it in Derry too.”
Colm organised a meeting with the Events Organiser in Derry who organises, amongst other events, the Derry Jazz Festival. The Council were keen to put it on and so that was the beginning.
The small town of Culdaff joined the DylanFest by chance when organiser Gerry happened to be in the bar and was asked if he had any acts for DylanFest weekend. It just so happened that the star act, Al Diesen, from Sardinia, was available for the Saturday night.
Bob Dylan and The Beatles
Of course, Dylan and The Beatles weren’t really rivals in the Sixties. Indeed they each loved each other’s music and they influenced each other. Bob Dylan once said “They should put up a statue to The Beatles here. They’ve made America great again.”
When asked by John Lennon what he thought of the early Beatles records, Dylan said they were good – but the lyrics didn’t mean anything. That heavily influenced John Lennon who wrote the song Help as the next Beatles Single.
Dylan was great friends with Beatle George Harrison – which made John Lennon more than a little jealous as he was the band leader.
Derry, Moville and Culdaff may not be ready to rival Liverpool’s Beatles Week just yet but the festival is expected to grow and grow in the coming years.
So, gather round people that weekend in Derry and Donegal. If you missed the Sixties, that’s the place to be.