This weekend will see Yass become an ‘unofficial’ county of Ireland.
A throng of musicians, many from the Emerald Isle, will converge on Yass parks, pubs and coffee shops for three days as the Turning Wave Festival rolls into town.
Now in its 12th year, the Turning Wave Festival has steadily carved out its own district niche on the traditional folk festival calendar.
This weekend will be a vibrant celebration of traditional and contemporary Irish and Australian music and the related arts.
In 2013, Yass ‘adopted’ the festival and made it its own.
Going from strength to strength, local businesses, volunteers and supporters have combined to ensure patrons are spoilt for choice with an abundance of musical, dramatic and artistic displays.
Festival director Norm Merrigan is passionate about the Irish tradition and the inspiration behind the festival.
Mr Merrigan said the 2017 Turning Wave Festival features one of the best programs to date.
This year’s special guest is Tara Finn from Sligo, Ireland, joined by Maggie Carty from Galway.
The line-up will feature a number of headline acts, including Geoffrey W Graham – well known for his one man Banjo Paterson show – taking the stage at the Lovat Chapel on Saturday at 9.30pm.
Another great treat will be Moira Tyers, Wendy Ealey and Bruce Watson performing their acclaimed ‘Unsung Heroes of Australian History’, also at Lovat Chapel, on Friday at 10.30pm and Sunday at 10.30am.
“This year’s theme is ‘New and Old’ and you will be spoilt for choice of new and old in our program content,” Mr Merrigan said.
“Get involved, and get into some of the best of Irish Australia on offer and have One Mighty Weekend, One Brilliant Festival.”
Not to be missed is the Family Bush Dance at St Clements Church Hall on Saturday from 3.30-5:30pm and the Local Showcase at Memorial Hall on Sunday at 2.30pm.
This concert will celebrate talented Yass musicians, Tar Finn, Lugh Damen, Daniel Clarke, bands Green Shoe on a Bender and Kirk and Co and the Good Vibes choir.
Green Show on a Bender will be Yass’ very own band.
It was formed by performers in previous festivals, whose aim is to ignite the love of traditional Irish music in Yass.
They include Michael Green, assistant principal at Mt Carmel School, harmonica player Jeff Brown and bush poet Leigh Brown.
Mr Green, a lover of the concertina, said the instrument was the first one he wanted as a child.
“It fits in the hands so beautifully. They can be difficult to come by, however,” he said.
Rounding up the band are Bridget Breen Guiney, who has one All Ireland Medal with the Ballydonoghue Ceili band, and Daniel Kelly – sing-songwriter with a strong focus on traditional Irish, Scottish and English ballads.
Ms Guiney, who plays various instruments, joined the group in its early years because it aligned with her love for music.
“Of course I love it, it’s therapeutic. It’s a release, an addiction,” she said. Ms Guiney said being part of the band also meant inspiring others to join.
There will also be concerts at Montessori Preschool and Mt Carmel, a Seniors Concert at the Senior Citizens Hall, markets, poetry breakfasts and performances in just about every nook and cranny of the town.
The popular event could not be possible without the many partners, supporters and sponsors, including Yass Valley Council, Clonakilla Wines, the Consulate General of Ireland and a number of generous local businesses and individual volunteers.
Tickets and wristbands can be collected from the Festival Office at the rear of Memorial Hall from 10.30am-9pm on Friday and 9am-9pm on Saturday and Sunday.
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