Take a step back in time to the Showband era at Omagh Music Festival

15th August 2022

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Omagh Music Festival 2

Omagh Music Festival - The Showband Era

Put those dancing shoes on and dust off those glad rags for Omagh Music Festival which takes place in Strule Arts Centre and Omagh town centre from Thursday 29 September until Sunday 2 October 2022.

The Omagh Music Weekend will transport you back to the heady days of the Showbands and celebrates the tradition of ballads and music that makes Omagh unique.

Thursday 29 September will mark the launch of a specially commissioned Music Trail in the town featuring seminal figures and places in Omagh’s Showband story. That evening in The Gallery at Strule Arts Centre will host an audio-visual exhibition in which the musicians tell their own Showband stories and history.

St. Eugene’s Brass and Reed Band, who played a huge part in the social history of Omagh, will launch the weekend of events in Strule Arts Centre at 7pm on Thursday 29 September.  Reminisce as you walk through the 1960’s, listening to the sounds and enjoy stories from St Eugene’s Brass and Reed Band members such as Shay Turbett, who’s family involvement in music goes back for generations and still continues today.  Sweet Omagh Town Radio will air audio interviews with local musicians and singers from Strule Arts Centre Face book page throughout the weekend.

Friday 30th September you will have your toes tapping and hands clapping as local musicians will welcome you to Omagh Town Centre throughout the day.

Alongside guided Music Trail tours culminating in A Night with Omagh’s Trad Folk in the Strule Arts Centre.  The Trad Folk event will delve a little deeper into Arty McGlynn’s musical history and honour the work and influence of the great wordsmith Felix Kearney.  Kieran McGlinn and Eamon McElholm will perform a selection of ‘The Songs of Felix Kearny’ which was produced and recorded by Eamon McElhom and Kieran McGlinn in 2011.  The concert will feature All Ireland Fleádh Champion Musicians including The McGlinchey Family, The McKenna Family, Shane McAleer, Mark McCausland, Jerome McGlynn and more.

MC for the evening is Omagh’s Folklorist, singer and songwriter, Mr Tom Sweeney, who will perform and tell us of the great folk music revival of the 1960s and where Tom became very influenced by the records that were sent from the United States and Canada by Tom’s uncle Tommy Mackem. 

On Saturday 1 October Omagh will swing to a different beat…the Showbands.  Again, local musicians, singers and St. Eugene’s Band will perform in the town centre throughout the day. The Showband Concert hosted by presenter Frank Galligan and co-ordinated by Dominic Kirwan and Ray Moore will hear hits from Omagh Showbands such as, The Melody Aces, The Plattermen, The Polka Dots and Brian Coll and the Buckaroos, Derrick and The Sounds, Frankie McBride with guest appearances from The Coll Brothers, Tony Hutchinson, Shay Turbett, and more.

The Omagh Music Festival ends with a Vintage Tea Dance on Sunday 2 October in the Strule Arts Centre. The afternoon tea dance will be a fitting end to a wonderful weekend of nostalgia and bringing the Story of Omagh’s Musical history to a new generation.

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

“Omagh has an incredibly rich musical heritage and that is why we in the Council (FODC) are so pleased to celebrate this through the Omagh Music Festival.

Omagh is home to very many renowned, talented musicians and singers and it is fitting that we showcase their talents and success of which the Town, the people of Tyrone and the wider District are extremely proud.

The Omagh Music Festival promises to be a weekend of top quality music, nostalgia and reminiscence with great entertainment to suit all ages.  I would strongly encourage everyone to join us at some point over the weekend to experience the talent and be part of a unique piece of the heritage of Omagh.”

You will not want to miss this wonderful weekend in Omagh, I can assure you.

We are currently developing other plans to continue this celebration of Omagh’s unique musical heritage into the future.  Omagh’s musical tradition is something that truly stands out and reflects the character of the town and its people.”

To book your tickets visit www.struleartscentre.co.uk