The Second Millstreet Music Fair (1997)

Preview: Roll on Millstreet
OUR bizarre planning laws may well sound the death knell for open-air festivals yet, but for the moment there’s plenty to enjoy. U2’s dates may well be gone, but this bank holiday weekend sees the second Millstreet Music Fair which, while hardly at the cutting edge of music today, does offer some of the best in Irish acts, plus a few classy visitors. Christy Moore, Jackson Browne, The Divine Comedy, Steve Earle, Jools Holland and Suzanne Vega are all on the bill this year. But among the lesser’ acts you’ll find some real gems too: the unmissable Frank and Waiters, Toni Robinson, Pierce Tumor, Sharon Shannon and Nano*, among them. Millstreet organisers are very keen to get away from the rock festival image of drugs and booze and to push their Music Fair as a family event. So, they’ve booked Galway’s hisenas to perform on the site and they’re bringing in a genuine circus big top. On top of that, there’s a supervised play area for the kids, a fireworks show and a craft village. All that happens on Sunday, but for die-hard festival goers who can’t enjoy themselves without making a weekend of it, Saturday’s eve-of-Fair party night should do the trick. The Afro Gk Sound System top this bill, with Slowed Lohan and Kila also in on the act. So there you have it. It’s not Lisdoonvarna or Slane, but the 1997 Millstreet Music Fair has enough ingredients for a decent weekend away. Tickets are still selling at usual agents, but you can ring 01-4569569, credit card in hand.

========
Millstreet outdoor music fair driven indoors
Mon, Aug 4, 1997, 01:00

You know nothing of true misery until you’ve huddled in a doorway in Millstreet, Co Cork, on a Sunday morning, tetchily waiting for the pubs to open and watching sheets of apocalyptic rain fall from the grey skies.

The Millstreet Music Fair was supposed to be a sweltering sunfest. We were to wallow in the summery meadows of the Green Glens, soaking up the feel-good rays and enjoying the melodic offerings of 21 internationally renowned singers.

But the gods work in perverse and mysterious ways and, as the gates opened at noon yesterday, pounding rain descended. Just for good measure, a nasty wind was blowing in from the west and there was a November chill in the air.

In his eternal wisdom, Noel C. Duggan built an indoor arena at Millstreet, and most of the crowd of about 5,000 headed for that, leaving just a couple of hundred sodden souls braving the elements at the main stage outdoors.

The acts were doing their best to raise the collective spirit. The line-up at this, the second Millstreet Music Fair, wasn’t half bad, an eclectic mix blending everything from the worthy lyricism of Jackson Brown to some very clever, arty pop.

The general atmosphere, though hardly electric, was cheery enough: it takes more than a rainstorm to dampen the ardour of throngs of 18-year-olds.

Meanwhile, torrential rain failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of people who turned out in Waterford in support of Spraoi, the city’s annual bank holiday street carnival.

The organisers decided yesterday morning to relocate all outdoor gigs to indoor venues after heavy rainfall threatened to ruin the festivities.

The Millstreet Music Fair (1996)

GIG of the weekend: Millstreet Music Fair, Cork, Sunday [1]

The line-up for this one-day event in the spacious Green Glens Arena has something for nearly everybody, from full-blooded celtic soul brothers Van Morrison and Shane MacGowan to the glittery contemporary pop of The Corrs and the camp shenanigans of Bono’s buddy Gavin Friday.
Rabble-rousers The Saw Doctors are also in there somewhere, as are Canada’s The Cowboy Junkies, country queen Emmylou Harris, squeezebox ace Sharon Shannon and the legendary John Martyn, a man known to equal Van in the getting out of the wrong side of the bed of a morning stakes.
The action will take place over three separate stages – the Greenfield, the World and the Examiner Stage, with some 30 acts performing.
Organisers say if the gig is a major success they will turn it into an annual event.

notes: The Millstreet Music Fair took place on Sunday, 04 August 1996. John played with band on the World Stage. Other acts there included Emmylou Harris, Cowboy Junkies, Altan, Kiki Dee and Ann di Franco. Van Morrisson was scheduled for the Greenfield Stage.

=======================

“Van Morrison story No. 2! Jim Casey mentioned on my earlier Van the Man post about the outdoor Van Morrison gig from the mid 90s. It was the 1996 Millstreet Music Fair. One stage in the indoor showjumping arena and another big stage outside. Van headlined, The Coors, The Saw Doctors, Altan, Paul Brady and a host of support acts. Gavin Friday played indoors. Emmylou Harris and Cowboy Junkies played. Van’s blacked out people carrier arrived backstage and out jumped the man himself with Michelle Rocha. The boxer Stephen Collins and his wife were with them. Van went straight on stage and launched into the first tune. Rocha and the others stayed backstage drinking champagne. I was crouched at the side of the stage watching the gig. Someone stood behind me and I looked up. There was Emmylou Harris – the Goddess. She watched every minute of the gig, sang along and when it was over walked past the event junkies still quaffing back the champers and made her way back to the other stage. That is all!!!!” – [Paul McDermott]

John Martyn at Millstreet Music Festival

John Martyn was one of the acts that played at the Millstreet Music Fair in 1996:

As anyone familiar with his story will attest, Martyn was, and is, not only one of the finest British singer-songwriter/guitarists of the last 30 years but is also known to be a renowned consumer of fine liquor. Indeed, the last time yours truly set eyes upon him, he was propping up the bar at the Millstreet Music Fair, a rapidly-emptying bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand. Needless to say, this comes as a bit of a revelation to him! “I can’t say I remember that one too clearly,” he laughs, down the phone line from somewhere in the north of England. “It was a good gig, though, I do remember that much.”Hot Press (2009)

[read more …] “John Martyn at Millstreet Music Festival”