In a spectacular finale to this year's Lorient Interceltique Festival, two Manx bands swept the board in their bid for the coveted Trophée Loic Raison, topping off a special year for the Isle of Man at the annual festival in Brittany.
Power trad trio, Barrule, clinched first prize and the Ruth Keggin Band was right behind them in second position, showing that the Isle of Man, despite its size, can hold its own in the world of Celtic music.
Although the Isle of Man has been represented for many years at the Festival Interceltique Lorient in Brittany, this is the first time in the festival's forty five year history that the Island has been the main focus, sharing the status of 'honoured nation' with Cornwall.
It has been a unique opportunity to present the Isle of Man to a wide ranging European audience which attracted more than three hundred journalists, hungry to know more about the Island and generate a greater awareness of its culture, heritage and local produce. Key events were televised to millions of viewers across France.
Attracting a delegation of more than one hundred musicians and dancers from the Isle of Man, they entertained in excess of 800,000 visitors during a busy ten day festival, and included Barrule, Ny Fennee, Ruth Keggin, Rushen Silver Band, Caarjyn Cooidjagh, Russell Gilmour, Strengyn and Mec Lir amongst others.
The pavilion stage witnessed a packed schedule of both Manx and Cornish acts, including those involved in official performances at other festival venues, which embraced two major gala events in the Grand Theatre and Espace Marine, and an appearance as part of the popular Nuits Interceltiques; an extravaganza of music, dance, film and fireworks.
This year's presentation represented a working partnership between festival organisers, Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council, DEFA, DED, Manx National Heritage and local businesses, in conjunction with Cornwall Council and the Cornish Language Partnership. Sponsorship was also received from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
© August 2015