Al Diesan DylanFest on the Lough Return

DylanFest 2016 - Al Diesan in Rosatos

Al Diesan DylanFest Return

The first Al Diesan DylanFest gig for two years will take place in Rosatos on Thursday the 22nd of August. Al had to miss last year because of injury. As Al is arguably the best Dylan act in the world he was sorely missed.

Indeed one local Dylan fan, who has seen Dylan over 20 times, said, “I think I prefer to see and hear Al nowadays than Bob Dylan.” When reminded about it a few days later he said “well maybe I went a bit far”. But maybe he didn’t.

Al Diesan Comes All the Way from Italy

Al flies in every year he can make it from Calgliari in Sardinia off the coast of Italy. To get here and get back home again Al has to get six planes two buses and two taxis. He opens up the festival on the Thursday night and close it on the Sunday night.

It is his annual pilgrimage. He has been to most of the Dylan festivals across the world, including the big one in California where he was the first non-American to play.

Here is where Al will be playing:-

Thu 9:30 – Rosatos (Moville)

Fri – 9:30 – McGrory’s (Culdaff

Sat 10pm – Ferryport (Greencastle)

Sun 9:30 – Rosatos

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 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 and let me know which sessions you want to play at.

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.

Stuck Inside of Moville, The DylanFest on the Lough

Stuck Inside of Moville

 Stuck Inside of Moville, the DylanFest on the Lough, has taken place in Moville for the last 11 years. It takes place on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.
There are DylanFests in Berlin, Manchester, Milan, Eindhoven, Hibbing Minnesota and California.
Indeed a couple of guys from Moville who went to play at the Manchester DylanFest said that the Thursday in Moville was bigger than the Saturday might at the Manchester DylanFest.

Biggest DylanFest in the World

 The guys who come here to play from all over the world tell me that the DylanFest in Moville is the biggest in the world.
I can’t vouch for that but it will certainly be the biggest when Derry joins in too.
It takes place over 4 days in multiple locations, indoors and outdoors. It has now grown so much that every bed within 14 miles of Moville is taken well beforehand.
So, there is not much growth to be had for the festival in Moville.

DylanFest in Derry

 Although it is already said to be the biggest DylanFest in the world, it would be even bigger still if we took it to Derry as well in 2017.
Of course, the logistics of having it in Derry would be much greater. Most festivals take place in the countryside where people live in tents and slosh about in the mud.
Moville’s DylanFest takes place right in the Centre of town and benefits the businesses there. Derry also has experience of this model with the Jazz Festival and other festivals.

DylanFest Locations in Derry

 What we would need to see what venues could be used. It would be good to have the main acts in an open area and local pubs could put on Dylan acts nearby.
The open area could be by the Guildhall, across the lough at the old Barracks, the street near Sandinos or the street by the Wall which has all the pubs like Masons etc.
Derry’s experience in publicising music festivals would be useful too.
Derry would be a perfect place for putting on a festival of Bob Dylan music.
I’m sure it is the kind of project that the man himself would approve of.
It would be great to be able to involve the schools as well with the kids from both sides singing Dylan songs like Blowing In the Wind and Mr Tambourine Man.