From Nashville To County Meath

Rag Lane Entertainment chief Darryl Downey was pleased with his first effort to bring top U.S. country talent to Ireland, as a July 28-29 bill including Emmylou Harris, Kenny Rogers, Nanci Griffith, and Dwight Yoakam pulled 10,000 per day to his new Midland Music Festival.

Although they’re not all strictly Nashville cats, Downey said his mix of old and new country – mixed with appearances from Van Morrison, Saw Doctors, Lambchop, Loudon Wainwright III and Jackson Browne – is a good recipe for creating a successful family festival.

“I’m very happy with the numbers and the reaction. I’m convinced we’ll get crowds nearer to 15,000 per day next year,” he said of the two-day event he co-promotes with John Reynolds’ Pod Concerts.

“I expected we’d do well with the local crowd but was very pleased with the numbers we attracted from the U.K. mainland. Within two days of the festival, we were inundated with e-mails from people telling us what a great time they had and wanting to know next year’s dates.”

The festival had an open-air main stage and a 1,500-capacity tent, which hosted packed shows from Tony Joe White, Hayseed Dixie, Low, and Hacienda Brothers.

– John Gammon