Press Release

Friends of Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival

It is again with much regret that we, as a voluntary committee, have made the decision to postpone our live festival this year.  We finally reached this decision at last night’s meeting, due to the rising numbers of the Delta variant of Covid-19.  We held off on coming to this decision as we had hoped to host our festival live, but we now feel that in the interests of public safety, it would be unwise to hold our regular festival format at this time.

This again has been a very difficult decision as we have incurred considerable expense again this year in preparation for our festival.  However, on a more positive note we will again bring you our 44th annual festival virtually – so wherever you are in the world, you can join with us as we celebrate the very best of local music over the August Bank Holiday weekend in Ballyshannon.

Our 44th annual Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival will celebrate local musicians and will feature our winning ‘Song for Ballyshannon’, The McIntyre Sessions, Abbey Sessions, 41 years of Festival Posters Exhibition with our resident artist, Barry Britton and of course the fifth in our series of Legend Sessions.

41 years of Iconic Posters – Where Music & Art Meet

This year, as part of our re-imagined Ballyshannon Folk & Traditional Music Festival, the committee is delighted to present an exhibition of 41 Years of Posters by our resident artist, Barry Britton. This exhibition will be launched on Friday 30th July at 7.30pm in the Abbey Arts Centre and will be on exhibition live in the centre until the end of August 2021. Numbers who can view the exhibition live will be in accordance with all Covid-19 health regulations.

Friday 8pm – Legend Sessions – Abbey Arts Centre

In the fifth of the series of LEGEND SESSIONS a virtual reality tribute session will be hosted in honour of two musical greats who, although no longer with us, continue to have a major influence on our musical heritage. Donegal fiddler Johnny Doherty who died in the Rock Hospital in Ballyshannon in 1980 will meet up with a surprise legend, all to be revealed on the night!

John Doherty was an explorer of his own country and its music. He travelled and played all over the North West playing music and he was an integral part of the rich culture of the area. His compositions and style of playing are very much to the fore wherever Irish traditional music is played

This virtual reality session aims to create the session that might have taken place if they had travelled through time and space to Ballyshannon and logged into one of the many virtual sessions that are taking place due to the ongoing lockdown.

Thanks as always must go to our sponsors for all their help and support with realising our virtual dream and ensuring that the show must go on!

The people behind Ballyshannon Folk & Traditional Music Festival hope, wherever you are over the August Bank Holiday weekend, that you can join them, through their facebook page,, in appreciating some great music, song and laughter as they  celebrate their 44th Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music Festival – the oldest festival of its genre in the world –  coming to you virtually from the oldest town in Ireland.