Happy birthday Rory...
Horslips and Rolling Stones legend for 2012 festival

Birthday presents don’t come much better than the line-up of headline acts announced last Friday, March 2, on what would have been the 64th birthday of the Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher.

Birthday presents don’t come much better than the line-up of headline acts announced last Friday, March 2, on what would have been the 64th birthday of the Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher.

Born at the Rock Hospital, Ballyshannon, on March 2 1948, Gallagher is credited as being the pioneer of Irish Rock n’ Blues and to this day is acclaimed worldwide for his raw energetic live performances. It’s fitting then that a star-studded line-up of Classic Rock ‘n Blues acts will headline this years 4-day Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival in Ballyshannon from Thursday, May 31 to Sunday 3rd June 3.

In what is being welcomed as a superb festival line-up that includes headline acts, legendary Irish rockers Horslips, former Rolling Stones guitarist, Mick Taylor and his band, renowned Rhythm ‘n Blues outfit, Dr. Feelgood, former Thin Lizzy and Motorhead guitarist, Brian Robertson with the Eamonn McCormack Band, the prolific guitarist from Mama’s Boys, Pat McManus and local Donegal legend, Johnny Gallagher and Boxtie.

The headline acts were announced at a press briefing at the Mansion House, Dublin that was attended by Horslips members Jim Lockhart and Barry Devlin, Mama’s Boys legend Pat McManus and Boxtie frontman, Johnny Gallagher.

Jim Lockhart from Horslips said: “We knew Rory very well and we are honoured to be going home to his hometown of birth to celebrate great rock music. Donegal is a spiritual home to Horslips, so returning after many years and doing it for Rory in Ballyshannon is going to be classic”.

Barry Devlin from Horslips added: “I have been to the Rory Gallagher Festival in Ballyshannon on three occasions and I absolutely love the vibe, the international visitors and for us to play in honour of Rory, its going to be brilliant. The Big Top in Ballyshannon on Sunday, June 3 is going to be magical for Horslips”.

Pat McManus of the Mama’s Boys said: “When I travel the world the one question I get asked is, ‘did you know Rory Gallagher’? I am proud to have known and played with him. He was the first real rock star and the greatest rock act to ever come out of Ireland.”

The voluntary committee that organise the Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival had earlier announced 21 preliminary acts, with the festival certain to attract Rock n’ Blues fans from across Europe to the hometown of the Irish Rock n’ Blues guitarist.

Over 12,000 music fans converged on Ballyshannon for last year’s 4-day tribute and it’s expected that similar numbers will attend the 2012 event, with a large performance Big Top Concert Tent making a first ever appearance at the festival, and it will play host to the headline acts on June 1, 2 and 3.

Tickets are now on sale through the official website www.goingtomyhometown.com and at Ticketmaster outlets nationwide for the headline concerts. A special three night ‘Early bird ticket’ for the 3-nightly concerts at the festival Big Top are on sale at just €50.

Thousands of Rory’s loyal fans from throughout the world will converge on Ballyshannon for 4 days of open-air concerts, street gigs, nightly concerts, pub gigs, exhibitions and much more.

The Rory Gallagher festival website www.goingtomyhometown.com has all details pertaining to the event that was recently named the Best Irish Festival for attendances between 10,000 and 30,000 visitors at the recent Irish Festival Awards.

Chairperson Barry O’Neill says: “We are delighted that so many great musicians are going to pay homage to Rory Gallagher in Ballyshannon and I know that Rory’s Fans and music followers will be delighted with this line-up many of whom have played through the great Gallagher years, have played the same stages and indeed are hugely respected at home and abroad”.

Among the acts announced earlier are renowned UK Blues guitarist, Larry Miller and his band, Dutch Band ‘Laundromat’ who make a welcome return to Ballyshannon after seven years, the crowd favourites Sinnerboy and Shinkicker, while there is a debut for Glasgow band ‘Against the Grain’ and no Rory Gallagher Festival would be complete without local rockers Moonchild and The Skins.