Mec Lir Band

Lorient Fest 2014

Musicians from the Island play at Europe's biggest Inter-Celtic festival in Brittany. Lorient Festival attracts an audience of nearly 1 million people.

The phenomenally successful Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival burst into life at the beginning of August to entertain an audience of almost one million people, with an increased Manx presence and the ever popular Manx pavilion welcoming those who pour into the port of Lorient, Brittany.

Billed as Europe's largest Celtic festival, with 200 events and 5,000 performers, it was a ten day extravaganza which gave the Isle of Man a perfect opportunity to promote both cultural and business opportunities in a vibrant setting of music, song and dance.

It'd been a busy time for Ealee Sheard (peripatetic teacher with the Manx Language Unit) co-ordinating all of the Manx performers and artists as part of her role as official delegate.

Ruth Keggin

Festival Director, Lisardo Lombardia, attended the open air sitting of Tynwald as an invited guest of the Isle of Man Government.

For this year's festival, there was a return visit by The Mollag Band, with the timely release of their new EP Afloat - attracting the attention of European audiences, and northern based dance group Ny Fennee, with their flair for choreography and eye-catching traditional costume.

Manx music is an important element of the Lorient Festival, with a cross-section of some of our most talented musicians having headed to Europe, including Manx Gaelic singer Ruth Keggin, who performed with her trio and in concert with Celtic music legends Julie Fowlis and Mary Black.

Ruth was also joined by fellow members of the exciting Norwegian Manx Project, fiddle maestro Tom Callister, keyboard wizard David Kilgallon and their Norwegian counterparts, Hardanger fiddler Erlend Apneseth and singer Margit Myhr, to bring their unique Celtic/Norse musical fusion to a wider audience.

Mec Lir Band

Newly formed band Mec Lir also be headed to Brittany, promising something a little more up-beat in tempo, with some well-known faces from the local scene; Tom Callister, Adam Rhodes, David Kilgallon and Greg Barry with a new EP to boot.

Manx blues guitarist, Davy Knowles, was also there with DAM Productions to record footage for his documentary Island Bound, sponsored by Island of Culture, the Isle of Man Arts Council and Culture Vannin.

But it wasn't all about music, with Peel based artist Nicola Dixon presenting a selection of work based on both her Celtic and Norse knot work and her distinctive maritime scenes.

Another bonus for festival goers was the Manx pavilion, operated by Peter Skelly for Culture Vannin and this year supported by Visit Isle of Man, promoting Manx produce and offering a generous selection of tourism information about the Island to the huge crowds who attended the festival.

www.festival-interceltique.com

Photos courtesy of Phil Kneen: Ruth Keggin; Mec Lir.

Valerie Caine © August 2014
(Courtesy of Manx Tails)