Free open-air performances from across a variety of musical genres will see Scariff Fair Green rock over the bank holiday week-end.
Since the festival began close to twenty years ago, bands and performers have been a central pillar in creating a celebratory and electric atmosphere in the otherwise quiet east Clare town for the other 11 months of the year.
Spirit of Smokie returns to Scariff on Saturday 30th July to the delight of audiences local and further afield. ‘Hugely popular with festival goers, Spirit of Smokie is the legacy UK soft rock band, rekindling memories associated with songs like ‘Living next Door to Alice’, ‘Oh Carol’, ‘Needles and Pins’ and such, said Harry O’Meara, of the Harbour Festival Committee.
Spirit of Smokie was born out of triumph and tragedy. The original Smokie took the world stage by storm in the 70s and 80s with record sales in excess of £30 million. But the Smokie tour bus crashed in Germany during a terrible hailstorm In 1995, resulting a few days later in the death of South Yorkshire lad, Alan Barton, their lead singer. His son, Dean continues to celebrate his father and the band’s songs today through ‘Spirit of Smokie.’
On the circuit since 2008, the band currently includes not only Dean Barton (Lead Vocal & Guitar) but also Andy Whelan (lead guitar & vocals), Graham Kearns (Bass Guitar), Will Jackson (Keyboards) & Mick Bedford (Drums). They are credited with great sound and atmosphere but above all else, quality musicianship is their hallmark. Earlier, singer song-writer, Faye Moloney will perform to her home audience, while east Clare trad musicians (Mark & Brian Donnellan & Tulla’s Andrew McNamara) will let it rip at the harbour.
On other festival nights, Cash Returns (the Johnny Cash & June Carter tribute duo) will go on stage with their live band on Friday night (29th July) preceded by the up and coming Clare band ‘Blue Herring.’
On Sunday night 31st July, the great Kilfenora Céilí Band will serve up a lively treat for the loyal set dancers who batter it out on a specially laid down wooden floor on the Fair Green before Drops of Green will bring their own unique interpretation to favourite Irish melodies, echoes of which will resound far into the Sliabh Aughty Hills above the town.