Ballyshannon rocks on with a bumper Rory Gallagher Festival

Rory Gallagher Festival attracts massive crowds

Michael Daly


Michael Daly


Rory Gallagher festival

The Pat McManus Band in full flow as thousands enjoy one of the many free open air concerts, the hallmark of the Rory Gallagher Festival which drew thousands to Ballyshannon . PICTURE: Emer O'Shea.

On Friday afternoon, with the festival just getting into its stride, Ballyshannon folk knew they were in for a remarkable weekend.
The night before, according to one publican this newspaper spoke to, gave a hint to that.
“Last night was very busy, I have never seen a Thursday night like it in years, and the festival as such hasn't officially started,” Michael Melly of the famous Melly's Bar on the Port said.
The festival attracts a massive following from many European countries, Germany, all the Scandanavian countries and pretty much a pick and mix from the rest of the continent.
Noticeable too this year was the increased numbers of visitors from the USA. Several of them told this reporter they had been in the area because of the Wild Atlantic Way, but had come across the festival and stayed on.
The main location for music is the marquee/tent and all three nights, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were packed, with a stronger local attendance on Saturday night, most likely because Johnny Gallagher and his band were the final act on that night.
Gallagher, performing solo on Friday afternoon alone at a free concert on The Diamond, attracted more than 1,000 people who listened and sang with him in the beautiful sunshine.
And, as good as the acts performing were, there can be no denying that this festival, which usually is blessed with good weather, was helped by some gorgeous sunny and always warm weather, with only one major break in that on Saturday evening around 7pm when the heavens opened.
Yesterday morning local gardaí told this paper that there had been no incidents of any note, they agreed that the numbers of visitors this year was up on previous years and said from their viewpoint the festival went off very smoothly.
Barry O'Neill, the man behind the event, said he was delighted with this year's festival, agreeing that the numbers attending were up adding: “good music, good weather, it was a very good weekend!”