Music made in Omagh 

3rd October 2022

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Omagh Music Festival Saturday Showbands 6

If there was ever an event that encapsulated a place, then Omagh Music festival was it.

The Omagh Music festival was a superb weekend that showcased the very best local talent that celebrated folk and trad and the Showband music sound of the 1960s.

The Festival launched at Strule Arts Centre on Thursday 29 September with a wonderful performance by St Eugene’s Brass and Reed Band ahead of the ‘Presenting the Showbands’ exhibition opening.

This wonderful nostalgic exhibition takes a trip down memory lane to the 1960s telling the stories of the local Showbands. The audio-visual exhibition showcases images, stories, records, and fashions of that very special era.  It will be on display in Strule Arts Centre until Saturday 22 October 2022.

On Friday Omagh’s Folk and Trad night showcased the very best local talent with stunning performances from Jerome McGlynn, Ciara Fox, Matt McGlinn, Kieran McGlinn, Eamon McElholm, The McKenna family and The McGlinchey Family all brought together by MC Tom Sweeny who also performed on the night.  

A conversation with members of The Plattermen plus Dermot and Frank Coll facilitated by Paddy Hunter on Saturday morning was a relaxed chat about life on the road, the legacy of the Showbands, and the laughs along the way.   

Saturday night’s Showband Show brought the house down. The packed house enjoyed a musical journey through the hits of The Melody Aces, The Plattermen, The Polka Dots, Derrick and the Sounds and Brian Coll and the Buckeroos, and many more. Compere on the night Frank Galligan kept the audiences entertained between the hits which were performed by Dominic Kirwan, Gerarda McCann, Martin and Frank Coll and Crawford Bell, with a special guest performance from Ray Moore. 

Sunday provided a spot of dancing with a Vintage Tea Dance, and an opportunity for a cup of tea, a slice of nostalgia, and a turn around the dance floor with music from Brian Pritchard.  

The weekend walking tours of the Omagh Heritage Music Trail guided by Vincent Brogan highlighted the sites of significance from the showband era. Some of the physical places have long since gone but new signage at each of the sites provides some information about the history of the locations in relation to the Showband era. 

Sweet Omagh Town Radio provided some special episodes which are hosted on Strule Arts Centre’s Facebook page. Conversations with Fr. Brian Darcy, Frank Chisum, Shay Turbett, Derrick Mehaffey, Ray Moore, Rob Strong and many more.

Speaking about the weekend, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Barry McElduff said:

“I was delighted to chair the Festival Working Group and officially launch and events over the weekend. 

The many stories told during the planning and during the Festival itself along with the exceptional musical talent which perfectly captured the Showbands era was very special.  The whole weekend will live long in the memories of many. 

I would like to thank wholeheartedly all those involved in the Working Group for their work over the last number of months which ensured the Festival was a huge success.  For all of us I think it was a labour of love. 

I look forward to this becoming an annual highlight in the Council’s events calendar.” 

For more information about the exhibition, the Music Festival and Omagh Heritage Music Trail email or Telephone 0300 303 1777