The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and Paul Sergeant Events (PSE) are proud to announce the first artists set to perform at the inaugural 2018 Magners Sydney Irish Festival on 10 and 11 November 2018 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park.
The 2018 Magners Sydney Irish Festival will be a fusion of art, culture, music, dance, food and drink that will culminate in a competitive Hurling match between two championship-winning teams for the 2018 Wild Geese Trophy.
The Festival will also feature traditional Irish dance performances, hurling clinics, market stalls, comedy, face painting, marching bands, buskers, amusement rides, player autograph sessions, activities for kids of all ages right across the weekend.
Headlining the 2018 Magners Sydney Irish Festival stage on Saturday, 10 November will be Dublin’s own, Damien Dempsey.
Dempsey’s voice is all Dublin, yet wholly distinctive. It’s almost clichéd to say it, but he is part of a rich bloodline of Irish singers from Luke Kelly to Ronnie Drew, Christy Moore to Andy Irvine. To describe Damien Dempsey’s music to someone who hasn’t yet been exposed to it would be to take some reggae, fuse it with traditional Irish music, add in rock and folk and put it all through a grounded working class worldly aware yet caring consciousness, and you’re some bit of the way there.
Now, 17 years into an astonishing career, Damien Dempsey recently released his seventh studio album, Soulsun, and he doesn’t hesitate in identifying the most satisfying aspect of his career. “Seeing what the songs mean to people is mind-blowing,” he says. “People come up to me and say, ‘You saved my life.’ At the start, it was about saving my own life and healing myself. There’s music for everything; getting up and dancing having a good time, music to think deeply to…you name it, absolutely everything under the sun. There’s music for all situations, but my music is about healing and hope.” (damiendempsey.com)
Lúnasa, one of the most influential bands in the history of Irish traditional music, celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2017. Named after an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honour of the Irish god Lugh, the group that Folk Roots magazine once called an “Irish music dream team” was formed from members of some of Ireland’s greatest bands and over the years has proven its mettle time and again, having sold over a quarter of a million records, performed more than 2,000 shows in high-profile concert venues across 36 countries, and collaborated with many notable artists outside the tradition. Two decades ago they ascended to the forefront of contemporary Irish music, and there they’ve remained, a leading voice in the genre and the standard against which others are compared.
Twenty years on, the group continues to evolve, playing new music that is as state-of-the-art and aggressively infectious today as it was so long ago. With a new album set for 2017 and a robust touring schedule to match, Lúnasa continues to set the standard and will lead the way for decades to come.
Music is one of Ireland’s most celebrated exports, and Lúnasa, a band like no other, has been at the forefront of that musical migration.
Lúnasa delivers music with a passion that informs every note and continues to define and redefine the genre. Their innovative arrangements and unique approach to the music create a singular sound that has propelled Irish acoustic music from familiar ground into surprising and exciting new territory. (lunasa.ie)
“The hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet” – New York Times
“The best Irish traditional music band in the world right now.” “One of the band’s greatest collective talents is their ability to pull off technically difficult and precise music with a casual, fun air, almost as if the five met for the first time with their various instruments at a pub and joined together spontaneously for a session” – Wild Geese
Saint Sister (Morgan MacIntyre and Gemma Doherty) have a huge following in their native Ireland with music drawing on early Celtic harp traditions, 60s folk and electronic pop to create ‘atmosfolk’—a mix of soulful vocal harmonies, dreamy synth and electro-acoustic harp. Formed in 2014, their debut EP, Madrid, was released in November 2015 and within its first year reached over 1 million streams on Spotify and in 2016 they were named “Best Irish Band” by the readers of the Irish Times. The 2018 Magners Sydney Irish Festival are pleased to welcome Saint Sister for their first Australian performance. (saintsisterband.com)
Day two – Sunday, 11 November – commences with the Big Irish Brunch and plenty of family friendly activities, hurling clinics and more live music in the buildup to the pre-game welcome parade of the teams into the stadium, before the teams take the field for tip-off at 3.30pm.
Hurling dates back to the 7th century and is one of the national sports of Ireland. It’s a physical contact sport, the fastest game on grass in the world and spectacular to watch. Played in two thirty-five minute halves by teams of 15 per side, hurling is without a doubt one the most skillful sports played today. (See below for further background information)
The Wild Geese Trophy will be a fully sanctioned, competitive game contested by reigning All Ireland champions Galway and the winner of the 2018 Allianz National Hurling League. It will be the first time a full format Hurling game will have been played outside Ireland.
The Wild Geese Trophy will mark the cultural respect that exists between the Australian and Irish people. It has been named in honour of 6 Irish fenians who successfully escaped the drudgery of a British ruled penal colony in Western Australia in 1876; an act of defiance that would later become known as the Catalpa Rescue.
The 2018 Magners Sydney Irish Festival is a celebration of everything it means to be Irish and a “must do” experience for anyone with Irish heritage. For the non-Irish, it’s the best way to experience the fun and friendly Irish culture without leaving Australia.
Introductions to hurling, the weekend’s events, artist bio information and hi res photos, can be downloaded from here
Tickets to the Sydney Irish Festival are on sale NOW through Ticketmaster.
Sydney Irish Festival
Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park
Saturday 10 November –and- Sunday 11 November 2018
Tickets on sale NOW from
www.ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100