Category Archives: Festival

The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival Nearly Upon Us!!

The Acoustic Yard Singer_Songwriters Festival Westport-2


Between the 6th – 8th May Westport will host The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival primarily in the Town Hall Theatre. Over 30 international acts from around the world will be playing around the town with some free events, open mic and showcase gigs.
On Friday 6th of May the festival opens with an evening concert in the Town Hall featuring Declan O’Rourke, Anna Mitchell and Craig and Willoughby.
Declan’s debut album in 2004 ‘Since Kyabram’, debuted at no. 5 on the Irish Charts and scored double-platinum sales with his song ‘Galileo (Someone Like You)’ has been recorded and performed by many artists,including singer Josh Groban
Bap Kennedy will be playing Saturday 7th of May in the Town Hall with Kathleen Turner and they will be joined from the USA by Teresa Storch and Jeff Brown.
Belfast singer/songwriter Bap Kennedy has won a global audience for his music, which fuses elements of folk and rock with a decidedly Celtic world view. He has collaborated in the past with Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) and Galway Girl writer Steve Earle. His song “Moonlight Kiss,” also landed in the Hollywood movie Serendipity starring John Cusack.
Tickets for these two events can be booked online at www, or at the booking office 098 28459.
All other events are free including the Saturday afternoon songwriters collective between 12pm and 5pm that includes international acts Daithi Rua from Belgium and Zia Land from Norway to popular local acts like Graham Sweeney and Brian Duffy. There is an open mic in the foyer with sign in at 11.45am and showcase gigs in the bar area.
The last day of the festival is called ‘The Songwriters Trail’ where listeners can follow the music from The Creel at the Quay via Mono Cafe, Hight St, The Gallery Wine Bar and Matt Molloy’s Bridge St. Artists on the day include Warren Attwell, Elaine Griffin, Brigid O’Neill and Kate O’Callaghan.
There is a special commemorative 20 track The Acoustic Yard Compilation CD on sale for 10 euros featuring some of the acts playing at this year’s festival. It can be bought at the Town Hall Theatre or online at
The main focus of the festival is for singer/songwriters to have a platform to perform their own songs and for audiences to listen to original music in a relaxed environment and most importantly to enjoy a wonderful weekend of entertainment. Tickets for main evening gigs are €22 each night and can be bought online at or at the booking office (098) 28459.

The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival Westport 2016

New festival logo colour borderDeclan O'Rourke-2

The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival Westport 2016

May 6th – May 8th 2016

‘The Acoustic Yard’ singer/songwriter sessions’ initially started up as a monthly event in Matt Molloy’s Yard Bar in Westport in February 2014. The main focus was for singer/songwriters to have a platform to perform their own songs and for audiences to listen to original music in a relaxed environment. A key aim was to help to invigorate and stimulate songwriting and to supply an evening of entertainment.

Due to the success of this event, the idea of ‘The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival’ was born and developed into the festival which will take place from Friday 6th – Sunday 8th May 2016, primarily in The Town hall Theatre.

The main auditorium of the Town Hall Theatre will host the headline concerts on the Friday and Saturday nights with further concerts and workshops on Saturday afternoon. The local cafes will also host some free concerts on the Sunday with a final gig to wind up the festival in Matt Molloy’s Yard Bar in the evening. The musicians will be encouraged to play and busk around the town that weekend to bring an air of festivity to the streets.

We have already booked over 30 international acts from the USA, UK, Europe and Scandinavia playing alongside some of our own home grown talent. Artists already booked include Declan O’Rourke, Bap Kennedy, Craig and Willoughby (USA/UK), Teresa Storch (USA), Daithi Rua (Belguim), Zia Land (Norway), Kathleen Turner, Anna Mitchell and many more.

The Saturday afternoon session in The Town Hall Theatre will be of an educational nature as people from all ages can meet professional songwriters who in turn will pass on their knowledge through workshops and concerts. There will also be an art exhibition in the Town Hall Theatre for that weekend around the theme of songwriting. Our festival of original music in one of the most popular music towns in Ireland will help to show a different emphasis to life here in the West of Ireland.

Songwriting Course

Songwriting CourseA great new beginners songwriting course in Westport starting Tuesday 29th September at the Town hall Theatre Westport. This course will help all new budding songwriters to find topics, lyric building, melodies and basic recording techniques.There will be similar courses throughout the year for more info please use contact form below. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Would you like to play at the 2016 Fest?

Anyone wishing to perform at The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival 2016 please send in your submission including Bio, MP3’s, YouTube links etc by the 31st of August 2015 to

Watch out for a few Lunchtime sessions at the end of August in the foyer of the Westport Townhall Theatre as a taster for next year’s Festival. More details to follow.

Kelley McRae with Matt Castelein

On Tuesday 14th of April USA singer/songwriter Kelley McRae will return to Matt Molloy’s Westport to perform once again at at the Acoustic Yard with her partner Matt Castelein. Joining them as special guests are local duo Nungesser and Griffin.

The Acoustic Yard is organising a series of events as a build up to it’s very own singer/songwriter festival next year. The festival at it’s early stages of development hopes to bring some popular names as well as upcoming songwriters to Westport on the May Bank Holiday in 2016.

Kelley McRae is in the middle of a European tour and is perhaps one of the finest exponents of Americana songwriting. Her plaintive songs and beautiful voice have gained her a reputation and regular invitations to festivals here and around the world.

Kelley grew up in Mississippi but called Brooklyn home for years before teaming up with guitarist Matt Castelein in 2011, when the duo traded in their NYC apartment for a VW VW camper van and hit the road full time.Thousands of miles and hundreds of shows later, they have toured coast to coast in the US.

Drawing comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch, the duo’s music is wide ranging – comprising haunting ballads, tender love songs, and energetic guitar driven songs full of hope. Acclaimed film director Wim Wenders told the San Francisco Chronicle that Kelley’s songs move him to tears, and BBC Radio’s and Old Grey Whistle Test legend Bob Harris calls the songs ‘Brilliant!’

Nungesser & Griffin are a new Americana/Alternative Country duo who formed last year in Westport, Co.Mayo. Gert Nungesser, native of Germany plays guitar, dobro and lapsteel moved to Ireland in 1983 and quickly became involved with many renowned musicians and bands on the west coast, including The Higglers Jug Band and Jassid Orchestra.

Elaine Griffin is a singer/songwriter originally from Co. Louth and based in Westport for the past 20 years. She most notably collaborated with singer/songwriter Joanne Keegan in the 90’s as well as fronting the band Mrs Doyle’s Quartet.

Nungesser and Griffin are writing and recording their first EP, entitled “The Hawks & I” which is due for release in early summer 2015.


Doors open at 8pm and for any further info please email

Briege Murphy, Niall Teague and Joanna Marie

IMRO supported The Acoustic Yard on Tuesday November 25th will feature three different eclectic styles from traditional folk to Contemporary pop. Briege Murphy, Niall Teague and Joanna Marie will grace the stage in Matt Molloy’s, Westport for the last session of the year which in the past has featured acts from Ireland like Charlie McGettigan and Andrea Begley to Kelley McRae and Gary Ferguson from the USA. The event will return in February 2015 with a special anniversary party and news of The Acoustic Yard singer/songwriter festival which is in it’s early planning stages.

briege-murphyBriege Murphy from Co.Armagh writes contemporary folk songs, many with traditional roots. Her songs have been recorded Niamh Parsons, Frances Black, Rig the Jig, Don Stiffe, Anthony John Clarke, The Border Collies, Scold’s Bridle and The Once to name but a few. She has recorded 4 albums to date of her own songs and one of Irish traditional and American folk covers.
Briege has received a” keeper of the tradition” award for her contribution to the culture of her county and country, and recently won “Best female Bard”, at the Bard of Armagh, humorous poetry competition. She has performed at festivals all over the world including the Westport Arts and Clifden festivals and recently one of her songs was included on an acclaimed compilation album, called ” The Ultimate guide to Irish Folk “.

niall-teagueNiall Teague is a singer/songwriter from Belfast city but has been firmly routed in the Galway music scene for the last number of years. Niall has gained respect as a performer, singer and a songwriter in both Galway and further afield through groups 4 men and a Bass and The Fast Company as well the Sharon Shannon band. His style reflects his broad musical influences which include both Irish and American folk music leading to song and melody which is both rich and diverse. Multi-instrumentalist Niall brought out his debut CD with his band The Fast Company in 2010 with a high quality assortment of original folk ballads, and bluegrass songs.


Joanna Marie is a new singer/songwriter from Dublin whose writing is very much influenced by Joni Mitchell. She spent some time studying songwriting in BIMM Dublin and working on her performance where she met Ola Ersfjord, a producer who encouraged her to record an EP. Following a successful fundit campaign Joanna recorded her debut EP with Ola in Temple Lane Studios, ‘Cold on the Coast’ which was launched to a packed out crowd in Whelans in Dublin in July 2014 . Joanna continues to work on new material and is due to release her new single ‘ Finding our Feet’ in this December 2014.