This annual event, first held in 1986, celebrates the life and musical achievements of the legendary singer, Joe Einniú (Joe Heaney), who died in Seattle in 1984 and is buried in his native parish. Born in 1919, Heaney found work and relative fame as a singer in London and Scotland. Eventually, he emigrated to the United States, where he worked as a doorman and made appearances at folk festivals, concerts and clubs. As his reputation and following grew, Heaney gained entry to the folk music scene and began leading workshops as a visiting artist at several universities. In 1982 he was awarded the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship. Heaney's works did not become truly popular in his homeland until many years after his death.
Today he is hailed as a seminal figure of traditional song and is revered by those who follow traditional music. Since 1986, the local people of Carna have celebrated his memory each year. Pride of place at the festival is given to Sean Nós and traditional singing in any other language but instrumental music and dancing are also catered for. Traditional music sessions take place, as well as workshops, lectures, a children's singing competition, céilís, concerts and recitals featuring the best of local talent and visiting artists. A visit to Joe Heaney's grave in Muighrois cemetery to mark his anniversary is always a special highlight of the festival.