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.