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Enniscorthy rocks as the Blackstairs Blues Festival hits the town

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Rock The Baptist & The Sinnermen band, Colin Howe, Barry Donnelly and Maria Buganska in the Hole in the Wall.

Rock The Baptist & The Sinnermen band, Colin Howe, Barry Donnelly and Maria Buganska in the Hole in the Wall.

Lauren Quigley, Megan Dobbs and Leah Butler in the Hole in the Wall.

Lauren Quigley, Megan Dobbs and Leah Butler in the Hole in the Wall.

Bill and Bella Wright, Fiona Dee and Mary Doyle.

Bill and Bella Wright, Fiona Dee and Mary Doyle.

John Murphy and Liam Ellis.

John Murphy and Liam Ellis.

Scott Flanigan and Nigel Mooney at Stamps.

Scott Flanigan and Nigel Mooney at Stamps.

Brian, Lugh and Aisling Nolan in Alba.

Brian, Lugh and Aisling Nolan in Alba.

Frank Francone band, Paul Ames, Frank Francone and Bob Masala in Holohan's.

Frank Francone band, Paul Ames, Frank Francone and Bob Masala in Holohan's.

Robert and Amanda Johnston at Stamps.

Robert and Amanda Johnston at Stamps.

Geoff and Linda Gration.

Geoff and Linda Gration.

Austin Walkin Cane and John Murphy.

Austin Walkin Cane and John Murphy.

Kat Borra and Jane Susi.

Kat Borra and Jane Susi.

Elena Bergami and Riki Olderton at the Blackstairs Blues Festival.

Elena Bergami and Riki Olderton at the Blackstairs Blues Festival.

Mairead Ennis and Sophia Murphy.

Mairead Ennis and Sophia Murphy.

Paula and Sean Meaney, from New Ross in the Hole in the Wall.

Paula and Sean Meaney, from New Ross in the Hole in the Wall.

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Rock The Baptist & The Sinnermen band, Colin Howe, Barry Donnelly and Maria Buganska in the Hole in the Wall.

enniscorthyguardian

THE organisers of the Blackstairs Blues Festival in Enniscorthy pulled out all the stops to ensure this year's event was one of the most memorable in recent years.

The line up featured an eclectic mix of artists and the performances range from intimate, solo acoustic shows, to full on hard rocking electric blues gigs to packed venues around the town.

One of the stars of the festival was Austin Walkin’ Cane whose brand of delta blue and authentic slide playing captivated his audiences.

His versatility as an artist was underlined by his solo shows and also when backed by Enniscorthy's own BC Blues Band.

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In addition to the American bluesman the line-up also featured the Frank Francone Band which included in its ranks, Bob Masala on bass, and Paul Ames on drums.

The Rob Strong Band are no strangers to Enniscorthy, however, for the festival the band’s set was firmly fixed within the blues genre with the band rocking out to a packed Treacy's Hotel.

Chicago based, Keith Scott was another artist who gave the festival a truly international flavour and his appearance in Enniscorthy followed on from recent performances in Alaska and Canada.

The Bad Bax Rhythm & Blues Band is a band with Dublin and Wexford connections and they kicked up a storm with their upbeat brand of high-octane covers from the likes of Rory Gallagher and Steve Earle along with original material.

The BC Blues Band, formed in 2018, is a very popular local band composed of Senan Carty, Iain King, Graham Moore, Bryan Stacey and Brendan Carthy and they compounded their growing reputation as one of the finest hard rocking blues bands around on the contemporary Irish scene.

There is something about blues that enables it to cross genres in terms of its attraction for people whose tastes, ordinarily, might lay in other styles of music.

Maybe it’s a primal thing or the fact that the origins of many different popular styles of music can be traced back to the blues in some shape or form, but the fact remains that there is a magnetism about this particular genre of music that other genres just don’t possess.

The significant thing about the Blackstairs Blues Festival every year is that the organisers work hard at ensuring there is a lot of diversity and that was certainly through this time around.

From the laid back launch event and the appealing earthiness of Dermot Byrne and Danny Tobin to the straight-up honest playing of Brian Meakin this year’s festival ticked all of the right boxes.

The Wexford and Dublin connection was alive and well within another act that performed over the weekend too in the form of Rock the Baptist & The Sinnermen, whose particular brand of rock offers something quite unique within the overall contemporary Irish blues landscape.

Lee Meehan and Hugh Buckley were also among the star performers who appeared this year event along with Nigel Mooney and Scott Flanigan and the organisers have every right to feel justifiably proud of what they presented to the music loving audience in County Wexford. These were some of the foremost blues musicians in the world playing in the perfect intimate settings and they rocked.

 


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