(Warning) Pure unadulterated 1970s nostalgia
I was over in the UK and Ireland for most of 1979, during which time I had the great fortune to attend the Lisdoonvarna and (Boys of) Ballisodare festivals. Anyone else who went to both or either that year — or at least is reasonably sure they did?
Here’s what I remember:
*(Lisdoonvarna) Seamus Ennis, all dressed in suit and tie, still playing very well indeed and the normally raucous crowd looking on in hushed respect.
*(Lisdoonvarna) Paul Brady having the unenviable task of following De Danaan after they had played about a half-dozen encores. If that weren’t enough, someone had a bonfire going, and the wind began blowing the smoke across the stage. But damned if Paul didn’t soldier on — I think he might’ve been playing "Lakes of Pontchartrain" at the time.
*(Lisdoonvarna) Dick Gaughan breaking a string as he was tuning up, looking around frantically for a replacement and finding he had none with him, then cussing loudly into the mike and hurrying off-stage to get a spare.
*(Ballisodare) Getting to see the Bothy Band AND Planxty the same night (Matt Molloy must’ve been pretty tired after it was all over).
*(Ballisodare) Standing next to a couple of rather boisterous young German tourists, one of whom shouted out: "I like dis focke muzik!"
*(Ballisodare) Playing tunes with a couple of fellers, one of whom was an elderly flute player whose name I unfortunately cannot remember, while sitting under one of the big canopies to get out of the soaking rain. After finishing a medley, we paused, looked and smiled at each other, and gazed out at the rain and the muddy terrain before us. Then the old gent said, in all sincerity, "Ah, it’s great to be alive."