Nashville Comes To Co. Meath

Former MCD promoter Darryl Downey is looking to plug a gap in the market by bringing in such acts as Kenny Rogers, Buck Owens, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Glen Campbell, and Don McLean to headline a two-day country music festival he hopes will become an annual event.

“The strange thing about it is so many people are saying, ‘why didn’t anybody think of that before?'” Downey told Pollstar. Ireland has always had a passion for music with roots to it and visiting C&W acts have always done decent business.

Rather than hold it in Dublin, which Downey said would have been the obvious move for many people, he’s holding his Midlands Music Festival July 28-29 in the heart of the country at Ballinlough Castle, near Athboy in Co. Meath. That’s still only 45 minutes outside of Dublin.

The 20,000-capacity lakeside site will have three stages and a bill that’s “mainly country,” but will cater for wider tastes by including acts like Van Morrison, Loudon Wainwright III, Tony Joe White, and Nanci Griffith.

One of the two smaller, tented stages will be given over to what Downey (admittedly loosely) describes as “alt country” and will feature shows from acts like Hayseed Dixie and Mozaik.

Downey, who set up his own Rag Lane Entertainment when leaving MCD four years ago, is putting on Midlands in partnership with Pod Concerts, which stages The Electric Picnic in Stradbally each summer.

Acts are still being added to the Midlands bill, which also has appearances from The Hacienda Brothers, Albert Lee, Guy Clark, and Niall Toner.

–John Gammon