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Massive crowd to rock the town for Rory tribute gig

It's going to be the biggest celebration of guitar legend Rory Gallagher's musical genius.

Organisers of this year's Rory Gallagher Festival in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, expect around 12,000 people -- including fans from all over Europe -- to rock the town over the June bank holiday.

The men responsible for 'Trouble with a Capital T' -- the legendary Horslips -- will headline the festival.

Also on the bill will be former Rolling Stone guitarist Mick Taylor, former Thin Lizzy and Motorhead musician Brian Robertson, and Mama's Boys guitarist Pat McManus.


"I suppose in many ways it is like going back to the great Lisdoonvarna years," explained Barry O'Neill, the chairman of the voluntary committee behind the festival, which runs from from Thursday, May 31 to Sunday, June 3.

Festival-goers will be greeted by open-air music; free classic rock 'n' blues gigs in every pub, where guitarists can show off their riffs; the main performances in a big top in the town centre; and 2,000 people camping on the outskirts of the town.

"It has got this great 'going back in time' feeling, with the Horslips headlining it this year," said Mr O'Neill, who unveiled this year's line-up yesterday, which would have been the 64th birthday of the guitar legend.

This year, as they prepare for thousands of fans to descend on the town, the voluntary committee behind the event is offering an early bird ticket for the three nights of performances in the festival's Big Top for €50.

It is one of just a number of events held worldwide to mark the guitar legend, with Rory's brother, Donal Gallagher, flying into Cork last night to open a three-day festival called 'When I'm 64' in the Triskel Arts Centre.

After Rory's birth in Donegal in 1948, the family moved to Cork, where he was brought up.

He went on to find fame with his band Taste in the mid-60s and enjoy an immensely successful solo career with the release of 10 albums.

He died at the age of 47 from complications after a liver transplant in June 1995.

"It is partly a recognition of how big Rory was in Europe but it is also a recognition of what a good festival it is," Horslip Barry Devlin said.

Mr Devlin, whose band played with Rory in Stuttgart in the late 1970s, said: "He was really the first Irish rock star in the mould of the late '60s early '70s."

Irish Independent