Westport shows how to do it
Seems like everyone has a festival these days, from churches to oysters and everything in between.
However, not all festivals are created equal, naturally. Westport Music and Food Festival, launched just two years ago, is an example of just how to do it. This annual two-day celebration of music, food and fun is family-friendly, small enough to feel intimate, but large enough to make sure there is plenty going on in the lovely 400-acre grounds of elegant Westport House. In the Chef’s Kitchen, Darina Allen, Neven Maguire, Seamus Commons, Rachel Allen and Derry Clarke, to name just a handful of the top chefs taking part, will be cooking up a storm, using local produce from the surrounds of Co Mayo. Elsewhere you’ll find Ardal O’Hanlon and David McSavage at the Comedy Tent, while the music stages will be host to a serious line-up, including Bryan Adams, the exuberant Kool and the Gang, Sinead O’Connor and Paddy Casey, as well as Sophie Ellis-Bextor, who’s appearance on Strictly Come Dancing was memorable for all the right reasons, and whose most recent album, Wanderlust, was released in January and instantly shot up the charts. Less of a dancefloor classic than Read My Lips, Wanderlust shows Balkan influences in its use of piano and strings, and is an exciting departure musically. Interviewed recently about her appearance, Ellis-Bextor said it was the combination of food and music that made Westport such an irresistible destination.