A ten-year birthday is nothing to be sniffed at – especially when you've got a decade's worth of musical memories to draw on.
Temple Bar Tradfest celebrates its tenth year in 2015 and is marking the occasion with a programme that is stuffed to the brim with big-name artists and rising stars alike.
It's also the perfect time to take a glance at some of the biggest hits over the course of the festival's illustrious history. Way back in 2006, its inaugural year, artists like rising star Caomhín Ó Raghallaigh were already making waves; today, the fiddler is renowned for his work with The Gloaming, This is How we Fly and his various solo endeavours.
Of course, some of the biggest names in Irish and international trad have graced the various stages of TBTF over the years. Lúnasa and Dervish shone in 2007; Clannad turned in a memorable performance at Christchurch Cathedral in 2011, as did Altan with special guest vocalist Eddi Reader the same year. Sharon Shannon (pictured above)'s headline gig at the 2013 festival was sublime as she celebrated 21 years in the business. The Furey Brothers and Finbar Furey have been regular performers, The Dubliners proved wonderful and worthy headliners in 2012, while some special collaborations – including Moya Brennan and Cormac de Barra's 'Voices & Harps' project (2012) – have since gone down in TBTF lore.
Year on year, the festival has grown in size and in popularity – and a glance at the 2015 programme confirms that the Temple Bar Tradfest has become about so much more than just trad music. In honour of its tenth birthday, this year's programme is the best ever; artists are travelling from both near and far to play various venues around Dublin's cultural quarter.
Some of this years' highlights include names that will be familiar to both Irish and international audiences, such as folk-rock legend Donovan (above), who will participate in a public interview with RTÉ's John Kelly on January 30th and perform in the beautiful setting of Dublin Castle on the 31st. Derry is represented by both punk-rock icons The Undertones (The Button Factory, January 30th) and folk superstar Cara Dillon, who will jet in from her UK home to play with a full band at St. Michan's Church on January 30th.
Scottish folk singer Karine Polwart (above) will play the same venue on the 31st – as will wonderful husky-voiced Corkonian Mick Flannery on the 29th - while British folk-rock stalwarts The Levellers will play St. Patrick's Cathedral on January 31st in what is sure to be a special evening of entertainiment.
Amidst those big names are some hidden gems that are well worth spending a little time unearthing. Eleanor McEvoy, Paddy Casey and Mundy will all be playing intimate Front Row Sessions in various venues around the city centre – and the best news is that they are all free (although tickets must be pre-booked via templebartrad.com).
The TradFringe programme, meanwhile, encompasses everything from film screenings to culinary 'taste trails' and banjo and bodhrán workshops; it’s here that you'll find all the fun stuff to do with the family throughout the festival. As if all that wasn't enough, the TradFest Music Trail will run in various pubs throughout Temple Bar for the duration of the festival, allowing you to get up close and personal with performers – and maybe even join in for a sing-song.
Temple Bar TradFest's organisers have undoubtedly pulled out all the stops for 2015 – but you're only ten once, after all. Here's to another decade of quality trad and more.
To see the full program me and book tickets for this year's Temple Bar Tradfest, see templebartrad.com.