Category Archives: Festival

The Acoustic Yard Festival Free Workshop

The Acoustic Yard are putting together a free workshop aimed for young songwriters but everyone is invited on Saturday May 6th 12.30pm as part of it’s festival in the Sean Staunton Room of the Westport Town Hall Theatre. The event is organised to help participants to gain valuable tutoring on all aspects of the music business.

This interactive question and answer workshop gives young musicians a chance to talk informally to 3 prominent and successful people in the entertainment business. Using  their valuable experience the panel will listen to the budding young artists and hopefully inform and guide them through problem solving answers.

The panel will also select a few people in the audience to perform a track for appraisal and guide the songwriter in the do’s and don’ts of recording, performance and promotion. This is a unique opportunity for young musicians to move forward to the next step and gain some valuable help.

The Workshop will be conducted in 3 parts, each lasting around 20 mins long including Songwriting and Production, Performance and Gig Organisation and Social Media Presence Using Video and Visual Aids.

Songwriting and Production
The panellists will listen to songwriters in the audience and offer a broad critique and advice in all aspects of their song. Structure, Melody and Production techniques with Pro Tools etc to bring the song to the next level.

Performance and Gig Organisation
The panellists will listen to questions from the room and offer advice to performers in voice and instrument techniques and communicating with your audience. They will also offer help in finding gigs, talking with agents, PR and record companies.

Social Media Presence Using Video and Visual Aids.
Using Social Media as a tool in getting your music out there via Soundcloud, YouTube and Twitter. The use of video in recordings, how to create your own simple video.
The three panelists are as follows:

Nick Kelly is a Choice Music Prize nominated solo artist. Having previously penned and sung some of Ireland’s most popular songs including ‘Arclight’ and ‘Dronning Maud Land’ with Fat Lady Sings he was voted #3 Best Irish Songwriter in Hot Press Readers Poll (after Hozier and Damien Rice ) This all coincided with the release of his latest album ‘Loads’ under the guise of Alien Envoy.
In recent years Nick has become an Oscar- Shortlisted film-maker (for 2011’s action short ‘Shoe’) and will be released his anticipated first feature ‘The Drummer and the Keeper’ this year. Other work that Nick had been involved in include a host of famous advertisements for Guinness, AIB, Airtricity and the Carbon Monoxide Awareness campaign.

Mike Gleeson runs the successful music agency Downda Road Productions which is a record label, music production and management company whose core goals are to discover, nurture and develop emerging talent. In doing so, he likes to grow with the artists, developing steady fan bases and the artist’s confidence, allowing them to shine on a broad platform. He puts the time, attention and effort into these budding artists so that down the road they can see them achieve a long lasting and successful music career.
‘Downda Road Productions’ based in Naas Co.Kildare have on their books the Westport based Grainne Fahy and Keith Plunkett from Ballyhaunis, the later has just released his ‘!00 Craics’ single which helped to him to be named as Today FM’s emerging young artist.

David Dee Moore is a singer/songwriter, producer, festival organiser and radio presenter. With 35 years of musical experience including recording 3 albums and touring the world with Niamh Parsons and the Loose Connections, being signed to numerous record companies and working on hundreds of recordings. His vast knowledge has been invaluable to young songwriters and musicians through his music classes in Westport. Blues and Roots Radio ( which has 200,000 listeners earmarks his show as the definitive songwriters show weekly has been lauded as a valuable platform for songwriters around the world.



Tickets Now on Sale for Friday 5th and Saturday 6th of May at The Acoustic Yard Festival


DATE: Friday, 5th May, 2017

TIME: 8.00p
TICKETS: €15/12

A special concert to celebrate some of the great songs and songwriters to grace the bars, cafes and stages of Westport over the years. Artists include John Hoban, Tony Reidy, Johnny Fadgin, Connie Cullen, Brian Duffy, Finn Upbeat Costello, Rosa May Kinsella and many more.
These celebrated artists have helped to create and continue the town’s musical heritage and The Acoustic Yard will host this event as part of it’s festival. There will be stories and visual footage to enjoy as we look back through the years of Westport’s songs….and musical history.

ULAID & DUKE SPECIAL with Jack O’Rourke

DATE: Saturday, 6th May, 2017

TIME: 8.00pm
Tickets: €20/18

When contemporary songwriting and traditional music meet, the results can be something to be treasured. Such is the case with the collaboration between folk supergroup, Ulaid, and singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Duke Special. The project draws on Duke Special’s songwriting skills, from pre-rock’n’roll to modern acoustic pop. He injects drama and theatricality, bringing storytelling to the fore with meditative twists and turns amid the melodic architecture. Ulaid’s mixture of skills in arrangement, interpretation, composition and performance lend a peculiarly folk-but-modern, urban-but-pastoral air to the whole. For a collaboration that may have seemed unlikely in theory, proves itself thoroughly in practice; when heard, it somehow seems inevitable

His songs speak of various human conditions with melodic flair, through young but wise eyes. There already have been flattering comparisons with the likes of David Bowie and Rufus Wainwright, but Jack has been determined to find his own voice amid a plentiful sea of influences – to ensure it is the unique qualities he possesses that he becomes best known for.

Padraig Lalor and Sarah Passmore

We are delighted to welcome two songwriters based in Wales Padraig Lalor and Sarah Passmore to The Acoustic Yard Festival this May.  Both songwriters will be performing at our event with the help of…


Padraig Lalor born in Belfast, living in Wales and recently released his debut solo album Ismay’s Dream which is an evocative journey through Ireland’s Titanic history that will appeal to anyone who loves great stories and great songs.

He has a fascination with his country’s musical history and a love of the stories that permeate its culture, bring an engaging authenticity to his songs. Capturing the passion and contradiction of the people and places of Belfast has seen Padraig earn the reputation of a modern day Seanachaí. Not surprising perhaps, that he lists both the great Irish Tenor Josef Locke, and Belfast’s Kathleen Largey amongst his key musical influences.

“Padraig Lalor is one of the foremost singer/songwriters of his generation” – Alison O’ Riordan Irish Post

‘Rivals anything from the Celtic Gospel of Van Morrison.’ – Sean Laffey Irish Music Magazine


Sarah Passmore is a young Swansea musician whose self-penned songs belie her age. With a pathos and ability far beyond her years she has mesmerised audiences across Wales and will continue to do so. Her songs tell of an experience unique in one so young and definitely one Welsh singer to look out for.

“This girl is going to go so far. I don’t think I have ever seen such raw, natural and unwavering talent that close up before. I feel it was a true privilege.”
“Sophisticated, tangy with a hint of wood smoke. I like!”

‘This is music that you get lost in…she is not to be missed’ – Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine


Duke Special & Ulaid confirmed for The Acoustic Yard Festival

We are delighted to confirm that Duke Special and Ulaid will be performing their new show on Saturday May 6th at the Westport Town Hall Theatre as part of The Acoustic Yard Festival. Special guest on the night will be Jack O’Rourke and tickets will be on sale soon for all events.

When contemporary songwriting and traditional music meet, the results can be something to be treasured. Such is the case with the collaboration between folk supergroup, Ulaid, and singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Duke Special.

The project draws on Duke Special’s songwriting skills, from pre-rock’n’roll to modern acoustic pop. He injects drama and theatricality, bringing storytelling to the fore with meditative twists and turns amid the melodic architecture. Ulaid’s mixture of skills in arrangement, interpretation, composition and performance lend a peculiarly folk-but-modern, urban-but-pastoral air to the whole. For a collaboration that may have seemed unlikely in theory, proves itself thoroughly in practice; when heard, it somehow seems inevitable.

Duke Special & Ulaid

Jack O’Rourke

The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Compilation CD Volume 2

We are putting together The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Compilation CD Volume 2 after last year’s album proved to be a success in helping with our fundraising.

If you wish to have your track included in the compilation then please send a WAV file to All money for the CD will go towards the festival and ultimately back to the artists.

There are still a limited number of copies available for Volume 1 in our Store and the album includes Bap Kennedy, Anna Mitchell, Craig and Willoughby and many more.


Cormac O’Caoimh, Davie Furey and Pa Curran Confirmed for Festival

We are delighted to confirm 3 great Irish singer/songwriters for The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival on May 5th – 7th 2017.

Cormac O’Caoimh

Cork based Cormac’s New album – Shiny Silvery Things will be out April 28th 2017. This will be his 6th Album. Cormac’s music is reminiscent of the legendary Prefab Sprout – wonderfully crafted songs!

“Acoustic Gems from the Cork singer-songwriter. Each song superglues to the memory ” **** Mojo Magazine

“Cormac’s songs are like little sculptures… considered, shaped and honed into things of beauty that find their way to your soul.”
– Fiachna Ó Braonáin (Hothouse Flowers)


Davie Furey

Davie released and toured his fabulous album ‘Easy Come Easy Go’ in 2016. He has the voice of Springsteen and the heart of Christy Moore

“Let your hand brake off and freewheel through the traditional rhythms and rock guitar power chords and enjoy the refreshing honest sounds of Davie Furey.”  FATEA Magazine

“Easy Come Easy Go is a testament to Davie Furey’s talents as an entertainer, and most definitely would make you want to enjoy his live performance.” Ceol Caint



Pa Curran

The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriter of the Year makes his first appearance at the Festival. Based in Bantry, Co Cork he released his debut album ‘Poor Man’s Clothes’ in February 2016. It was the second highest new entry to the official Irish Album charts on its release week and went in at number 8 in the Irish Artist Album Charts.

“Pa Curran tells stories in a simple and very personal way…Its an album that deserves attention and a few repeat plays to unlock its lyrical value and the wisdom contained within.” Tim Coakley

The Lark and The Robin Returns

‘The Lark and The Robin’

Kate O’Callaghan (and Seamus Devenny) 


The Lark and the Robin returns for the end of Festival party in Matt Molloy’s on the 7th of May hosted again by the wonderful Kate O’Callaghan. Last year was such a success that we have invited Kate back to perform and introduce a selection of songwriters from the weekend.

Kate has just released the successful album ‘The Girl With The Beret’ comprising of a series of songs and spoken word tracks weaving the story of a young woman caught up in the 1916 Rising in Dublin.


 “Distinctive, thoughtful, heartfelt, provocative and most definitely all her own…She is unique. Observe and enjoy.” – Fanrealm (USA)

“Subliminal, understated and simply glorious” – Fatea Magazine










The Acoustic Yard Nominated for the Small Festival of the Year




We are delighted to be nominated for the IMRO Small Festival of the Year 2016. Our first year has been recognised by fellow songwriters around Ireland as a worthy nominee.

The Irish Music Rights Organisation CLG (IMRO) is delighted to announce that the ninth IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards will take place on Tuesday 21st February 2017 at IMRO HQ in Dublin.

The shortlist (below) was announced this morning via the IMRO building by Victor Finn (IMRO Chief Executive).

The annual awards celebrate the dedication and passion of those who work in Ireland’s live music venues, providing the public with an exceptional live music experience on a weekly basis.

More than 11,500 IMRO members considered hundreds of venues across the country for the shortlist. Venues were judged on their commitment to providing the core elements that make for a great live music venue – atmosphere, sound and lighting, staging, diversity of programming and importantly, the staff and management of each venue. IMRO members also voted on Ireland’s music festivals, delivering a shortlist of their top ten festivals.

Live music venues and festivals play a vital role in the music industry in Ireland, giving international and homegrown artists a platform to engage with fans and build new audiences. They also play a central role in urban and rural communities across the country, providing a social gathering space for varied audiences, and contributing hugely to the domestic economy.

Of the Awards, Victor Finn, IMRO Chief Executive said, “A strong live music circuit is the lifeblood of a vibrant music industry. It is important that we acknowledge those venue owners and festivals promoters whose commitment, passion and support for live music throughout the country enables music creators to continue making the music we all enjoy”.

At the ceremony in IMRO HQ in Dublin on February 21st, awards will be presented to the leading live music venue in each of the following regions: Dublin, Leinster (excluding Dublin), Connacht, Munster and Ulster (Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan). The IMRO Live Music Festival of the Year will also be presented on the night. Performances on the night will come from Overhead, The Albatross and Soulé plus other acts to be announced soon.

One overall award will be presented to the IMRO National Live Music Venue of the Year. This award is decided upon by the public, who vote for their live music venue of the year from the combined shortlist of all the regions.

Live music fans should simply log on to choose their favourite from the shortlist provided, by February 18th. One lucky voter will win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.

The ceremony will also see the presentation of the award for Hot Press Live Music Venue of the Year via The Readers Poll which is contributed to by Hot Press fans and can be viewed here –

“Live gigs are where the vast majority of musicians earn their money nowadays,” Niall Stokes, editor of Hot Press said. “Which is why it is so important for Ireland to continue to build a vibrant, active, eclectic live music scene. This country is rightly renowned for the enduringly brilliant musicians, artists and bands we have nurtured and given to the world. But it is also admired, all across the globe, for the quality and depth of the live music that people can enjoy here, almost as if it were on tap. The truth, of course, is that it takes a huge amount of ambition, commitment, organisation and determination – not to mention unshakable self-belief and optimism – on the part of venue owners, promoters and festival organisers alike to make it all happen. It is really important to acknowledge all of the superb work that goes into all of this – and to encourage it. Which is what makes the Live Music Awards so important. Hot Press is proud to be part of what is a vital occasion for Irish music – and ultimately for Irish musicians.”





IMRO Small Music Festival of the Year 2016

Another Love Story
Other Voices
Willie Clancy Summer School
Doolin Folk Festival
Sligo Live
Kilkenny Trad Fest
Acoustic Yard Festival
BD Festival Wicklow
Dublin Fringe Festival