Omagh Music Festival 2023

  • 03 - 04 Nov 2023, 6.00pm - 11.00pm
  • Omagh

Key Details

Starts 3rd November 2023 at 6:00pm
Ends 4th November 2023 at 11:00pm
Venue Strule Arts Centre
Book Online


All Roads Lead to Omagh for Omagh Music Festival!

Omagh Music Festival Weekend returns for 2023 and will take place on 3 and 4 November in Strule Arts Centre with a wonderful weekend of events planned.

The album ‘Old Devil Wine’ was released by the Plattermen just over 50 years ago and it will be celebrated in concert on Saturday 4 November in Strule Arts Centre with hits from that album, together with other songs from the band’s stage repertoire and music from other artists of that era.

The concert features a band made up of some of the very best musicians from Omagh, Derry/Londonderry and Donegal with a six-piece horn section and vocalists including Niall Moore, nephew of the Plattermen’s musical arranger Ray Moore. This promises to be a rare chance to experience what the Plattermen sounded like in their prime, as they performed not only their own music but music from bands such as Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Other music of that era from Tower of Power, Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan and Aretha Franklin will also be recreated. The audience will be in for a real treat as many people don’t get the chance to see or hear this nowadays.

The story of a band such as the Plattermen and their place in the music industry and Irish culture is complex, therefore, the concert will also feature a narration by Tom Sweeney. Tom will recount how the band was influenced by many elements while in turn influencing life across the Island during the 60s and 70s, as part of the showband industry and also in their own right as one of the very best bands to have emerged from that scene.

Bands like the Clipper Carlton from Strabane and the Melody Aces from Omagh and Newtownstewart were at the forefront of the creation of a nationwide Irish showband circuit. The contribution of that circuit and the showband ‘scene’ of the early 60s in creating a society that reflected contemporary Western values rather than pre-modern folk myths, can’t be underestimated. The myths might have been different on either side of the border but the showbands seemed to transcend that.

By the early 70s, the Irish showband circuit, which had been phenomenally successful from the late 50s to the early 70s, was beginning to change. The growth of the dancehall culture had been organic, but the innocence of that was being replaced by business models that had privileged profit over talent.

However, in 1972 there were still some bands who remained fiercely independent and deeply invested in the culture of that period. One of those bands was the Plattermen. Omagh is proud of this unique band and this celebration of ‘Old Devil Wine’ as the band’s crowning achievement some 50 years after its release is not to be missed.

On Friday 3 November, Swing Dance Tyrone will be hosting a Fundamentals of Swing Dance Workshop, from 19.00pm.  A beginner-friendly workshop to learn the fundamentals of “Lindy Hop” which was used in social dance halls from 1920s. Normally danced to big band music, this workshop focuses on partnered dancing but no need to bring one; everyone dances together.

On Saturday 4 November 2023 from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm you are invited to join Frank Galligan who will facilitate a workshop called ‘Melody Unveiled: Crafting Stories with Frank Galligan’ which will encourage upcoming songwriters to concentrate on creating lyrics as well as participants who may have a melody and want to add words. This will be a wonderful morning of stories and making connections overlooking the Strule River. Between 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm enjoy the addition of performances from Blue Notes and Culmore Swing Band whose members have played in the showbands and St Eugene’s Brass and Reed Band and will certainly bring you back in time.

The Omagh Music Festival Weekend will also be the last chance to immerse yourself in ‘The Sights and Sounds of the Showband Era’ Exhibition as it finishes on Saturday 4 November 2023.

Tickets are now on sale and can be booked through Strule Arts Centre – or 028 8224 7831.

Venue Location

  • Townhall Square
  • Omagh
  • Co. Tyrone
  • BT78 1BL

Strule Arts Centre

  • Townhall Square
  • Omagh
  • Co. Tyrone
  • BT78 1BL