17 Feb 2020
The late, great Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher will be fondly remembered at a major music festival in Ballyshannon, County Donegal in May.
The four-day Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival, running from 28–31 May, is set to welcome over 10,000 fans from around the world in celebration of the life and music of Ireland’s greatest guitar hero.
The legendary musician was born at the appropriately named Rock Hospital in Ballyshannon in 1948, growing up to become one of the world’s most distinguished and exciting rock and blues guitarists, influencing the likes of Brian May from Queen and the Edge from U2.
Now in its eighteenth year, the festival in his honour has become a must-attend annual event for the legions of fans who still revere Rory’s skill, style and flair on the guitar.
This year, a stellar line-up of acts will light up the Wild Atlantic Way town of his birth, with special tickets available to take in all three nights at the festival’s big top.
Among the headline acts will be American Eric Gales (Sunday, 31 May), who is being hailed as the best guitar player on planet Earth at the moment. The same night will see the Band of Friends hit the stage, featuring Rory Gallagher’s long-serving bass player Gerry McAvoy. Phil Lynott’s old band Grand Slam and more are also on the bill.
Contemporary blues master Walter Trout and his Band will tread the big top boards on Saturday, 30 May, as will leading Rory Gallagher tribute band Sinnerboy.
And in this the 25th anniversary year of Rory's sad passing, Irish rock will play a special part in the festival as the legendary Horslips, regarded as the founding fathers of Celtic Rock, take to the big top stage on Friday 29 May.
Headliner, Eric Gales
Further big names peppering the night-time concerts include Thin Lizzy stalwart Eric Bell and his band, Sam Davidson’s Taste and top Dutch tribute outfit Laundromat.
The streets of Ballyshannon will be thronging with music fans in the daytime too, as non-stop free open-air street concerts, busking and pub gigs fill the air.
There will also be guitar workshops, Rory exhibitions and the opportunity for a selfie at the iconic bronze statue of Rory in the town, where much of the music can be heard.
For fans taking a break either side of the festival, the breathtaking scenery, golden beaches, rugged islands and traditional music and culture of wider County Donegal will yield amazing adventures.
With the nearby sea cliffs at Slieve League among the most spectacular in Ireland, this northern, almost untouched, stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way is an absolute joy.
Slieve League, County Donegal
Fanad Head Lighthouse, County Donegal
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