Children’s Hospital in Crumlin will benefit from Busking Festival

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

An eight-months ordeal in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin was the inspiration behind this weekend’s Clonmel Busking Festival.

Josh, the two-and-a-half year-old son of one of the festival organisers, Eelco Beckers and his partner Ailish, spent that time in the Dublin hospital almost two years ago, when he underwent a bone marrow transplant.

“Josh is hale and hearty now and in great health”, says Eelco. To express his gratitude Eelco raised 4,500 for the hospital when he organised last year’s one-day Buskathon, which has now been expanded into a three-day festival.

The festival begins on this Friday, 12th and continues until Sunday, 14th. All events on the streets during the day and in the pubs at night are free and collections will be taken up for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital.

Some of the biggest and best-known names in Irish music have been lined up for what promises to be a weekend of top-class entertainment.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest performers to have graced an Irish stage, Jack L will give fans the chance to hear all the favourites, as well as songs from his latest album, when he plays O’Keeffe’s at 8.30 on Friday night, along with a support band.

Don Baker, the musician, actor, songwriter, author and famed harmonica player will busk on the streets on Saturday and play Gleeson’s bar that night with his full band in a concert that starts at 10pm.

Mick Hanly - the singer/songwriter who’s best known for his song Past the Point of Rescue, which was made famous by Hal Ketchum and Mary Black - will also be in action on Saturday night, when he plays Liam Daly’s at 9pm, which will follow a busking session earlier that day.

Rob Strong, the father of Irish soul and his band will busk on Sunday. This will be followed by an evening performance in The Posthouse Bar when he’ll be supported by his daughter, up and coming star Niamh Strong, in a concert that starts at 7pm.

The festival will also feature Ben Reel (who plays the beer garden in The Phoenix in Irishtown at 8pm on Saturday and The Outback Bar at 9pm on Sunday); Loudest Whisper (who’ll be in The Brewery bar in Mulcahy’s at 11pm on Saturday and the barbecue in The Phoenix Bar at 8pm on Sunday); Tir na nOg (who’ll be in Daly’s bar at 9.30, with support, on Sunday night); and John Spillane, who plays Eldon’s bar at 8pm on Sunday, 14th.

“While it’s great to have all these big names the backbone of the festival will be all the local acts that are also taking part”, says Eelco Beckers.

He says the festival should give the town a great boost and the organisers are also grateful to the main sponsors Bulmers for their support.

Last year the big session on Mitchel Street featured craic, music, singing and dancing, and this year’s “sesh” promises to be bigger, better and bolder than ever. All musicians are very welcome.

Other busking locations include Market Place, the Main Guard, Gladstone Street near McDonald’s, outside the former O’Connell Mall and Premier Music in O’Connell Street.

A puppet show, Puppet Factor, which is great entertainment for adults and children alike, will be held at The Showgrounds Shopping Centre. Shows on Saturday are at 2pm, 2.45 and 3.30 and on Sunday at 1pm, 1.45 and 2.30.

The organisers also need volunteers for the bucket collections for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital for the night gigs. Anyone interested should contact Eelco Beckers at 085-8502289.