Irish DylanFest Spreads Its Wings to Culdaff, Greencastle and Derry

Rosatos Bar Moville for the DylanFest on the Lough

Irish DylanFest

The 13th annual festival of Bob Dylan music, Stuck Inside of Moville, the Irish DylanFest on the Lough is starting to spread through the surrounding area. For the first time it will take place in four different towns – Moville, Culdaff, Greencastle and Derry / LondonDerry. It takes place from August 22nd to 25th.

There will be 19 different gigs in 7 venues in 4 locations and it will go on for 4 days. Three of those venues will be in Moville, two in Culdaff, one in the quaint fishing village of Greencastle and one in Derry / Londonderry.

Bob Dylan an Icon

Said organiser Gerry McLaughlin, “The great thing about having a Dylan festival is that you don’t have to sell the man. You just need to let people know that it is on and they come.” In its first year, in 2007, news of it was on national radio.

A Canadian couple, who were touring Ireland and heard it, stopped at the next petrol station and asked “Where’s Moville?”, turned the car around and headed straight for it. Another guy came all the way from San Francisco for it. There have been many international visitors since.

Marriage Proposal at DylanFest on the Lough

At the next DylanFest a guy from Belfast proposed to his girlfriend from Derry by getting up before her on the last day of the festival, going to the sea Lough at low tide, collecting a whole load of white pebbles and stones and putting them on the sand saying “Marry Me”.

When the tide came in and covered the pebbles he took her down to the shore and said “What do you think?” She looked at the sky and said “It’s a beautiful day”. He said “No, look at the water”.

She did and she saw the message there. She said later “I thought that was very romantic someone putting that in the water for his girlfriend.” Her boyfriend said “No, it’s for you”. She accepted straight away and they did get married.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival Success

This year the DylanFest organiser has pulled off a coup by getting an act who sold out the Space Triplex complex  at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival to come and perform at this year’s DylanFest.

The show is called When Judas Meets John and looks at the lives and music of Bob Dylan and John Lennon and how they interacted and inspired each other.

Al Diesen Back at Moville DylanFest

Back again this year is arguably the best Dylan act in the world,  Al Diesan from Sardinia in Italy. Said organiser Gerry “He missed last year’s festival and some people didn’t come because of that”. He and his wife have to take 6 flights, four buses and two taxis to get to Moville and back again.

Virtuoso Guitarist Michael Thomas

Another performer is New Yorker, Michael Thomas, a virtuoso guitarist, who now lives in Portstewart on the other side of the salmon fishing Lough Foyle from Moville.

Michael used to play regularly with Henry McCullough who played in Paul McCartney’s band Wings, which he set up after The Beatles broke up. Henry was also the only Irishman to play at Woodstock.

Six DylanFest Gigs in Culdaff

Said organiser Gerry “last year we trialled one gig in Culdaff which is about 10 miles from Moville. It was a success and now there will be 6 gigs there. This year we are trialing a gig in Derry. Michael Thomas will be playing it, so we think it will be a success and more Derry pubs will want in next year.

But firstly this year’s festival. It opens and closes with Al Diesan on the Thursday and Sunday and with 17 more gigs scheduled in between to whet the appetite of any Dylan fan. They should not be disappointed.

For more info see DylanFest Moville on Facebook.

DylanFest in Culdaff – Welcome to the Swinging Sixties

DylanFest in Culdaff

There will be a DylanFest in Culdaff this year as well as Moville. It is the first time that Culdaff have really been in it.

We had a trial last year when McGrory’s asked for a Dylan act for the Saturday night. It was supposed to be the great Al Diesan playing. However, he had injured himself in a fall and had to pull out. Shaun Hiboy from Moville deputised.

McGuinness’s and McGrory’s Join DylanFest in Culdaff

Shaun must have done pretty well as McGrory’s decided to take acts on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this year’s DylanFest. Not only that but McGuinness’s Bar in Culdaff joined them in coming in for all three nights.

Indeed McGuinness’s are going to put their acts on in their Marquee.

And what acts they are.

Culdaff – DylanFest Programme of Events

Here’s the programme for he DylanFest in Culdaff during the festival.

Friday (Aug 23d)

9:30 – McGrory’s – Al Diesan

10:30 – McGuinness’s – Ryan O’Dochartaigh

Thursday (Aug 24th)

9:30 – McGrory’s – Cajum Moon

10:30 – McGuinness’s – The Dylanites (5-piece)

Sunday (Aug 25th)

9:30 – McGuiness’s – Michal Thomas

9:30 – McGroroy’s – Mr Jones

For further information on those acts click on DylanFest Music Acts

DylanFest Open Mics at this year’s DylanFest on the Lough

Rosatos Bar in Moville

DylanFest Open Mics

There will be three DylanFest open mics at this year’s festival.

There are quite a few people who come to the DylanFest who can play and sing a few Dylan songs but couldn’t do a full set. Or maybe they could but don’t have the confidence to do so. Or maybe yet again they are not quite good enough.

For those we put on Open Mics. This is the people’s part of the festival and is very enjoyable for those participating and those just watching. A couple of years ago we had half a dozen people playing guitars in the benches outside Rosatos along with a drummer and flautist. It went down really well and everyone had a load of fun.

It didn’t happen last year mainly because there was no one to start it all off. That was mainly because regular DylanFest goer Mickey the Hat didn’t come. He can’t come again this year but we are going to make sure it happens. We’ll get someone to start it off.

DylanFest Open Mic in the Corner Bar

The first Open Mic of the weekend will happen in the Corner Bar on the Friday night (Aug 23rd). Dutchman, Egon, who lives locally will play Dylan songs for half an hour and then hand over to those who want to play a couple of Dylan tunes.

Each player will do two Dylan songs and then hand over to the next one. There may be chances to do a couple more later on depending on how many players there are there.

Open Air Open Mics at Rosatos

The other two Open Mics will also be Open Air. They will be on the benches outside Rosatos. They’ll kick off at 4pm and will go on till whenever. One year they went on till the night time gig in Rosatos started at 10:30pm. Indeed they overlapped.

These will take place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 4pm till whenever.

If you want to play just contact me at [email protected] and let me know which sessions you want to play at.

DylanFest in Derry – The Dylanites to Play the Gweedore Tonight

Ryan O'Dochartaigh

The Dylanites

The Dylanites, who hail from Derry, are one of the best Dylan bands around.

They will be playing in the Gweedore Bar in Derry tonight from 11pm to 1am.

This is not the first time they have played the DylanFest.

They played The Bar-a-Cuda in the 2nd year of the DylanFest in Moville.

DylanFest in St Eugene’s Hall

I had brought a playwright from Canada to perform in St Eugene’s Hall, the local Temperance Hall.

He had met Dylan twice and had got permission from him to create a play based solely on words Dylan has used and with some of his greatest songs.

The DylanFest had been a big success in its first year – but was it a one-off?

The opening night in Rosatos went well – but that was only on in one pub.

I went to the play on the Friday evening.

It was very good – but there were only about 30 to 40 people there.

As I was leaving afterwards I wondered whether many people would come this year.

The Dylanites in Moville at the Bar-A-Cuda

I decided to take a look in the back door to see if there was many in the Bar-A-Cuda where The Dylanites were playing.

My heart lifted.

The place was mobbed.

Not only that, everyone was up on the floor bopping along to The Dylanites up tempo Dylan music.

I then went to Rosatos to find that there was a good crowd there to see Jacques Mees from Holland.

I would heavily recommend going to see The Dylanites.

You may well find yourself bopping about and up dancing to Dylan songs.

Bob Dylan v The Beatles – Ireland v England in August

DylanFest Derry Logo - Peace Bridge

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.